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Levitra (vardenafil) facts

What is Levitra?

Levitra is a PDE-5 inhibitor, a class of on demand oral treatments available to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).

Who can be treated with Levitra?

Levitra has been shown to be effective in treating ED in a broad range of men, including men with diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, spinal cord injury and those who have had their prostate gland removed. (1)

How effective is Levitra?

  • 74% of ED patients achieve full sexual intercourse with their first Levitra tablet (2)
  • 87% of ED patients achieve penetration with their first Levitra tablet (2)
  • 75% of men with diabetes and ED achieved penetration with their first Levitra tablet (3)
  • 84% of men with hypertension and ED achieved penetration with their first Levitra tablet (3)
  • 84% of men with dyslipidaemia and ED achieved penetration (with their first Levitra tablet (3)

How does Levitra work?

In order for a man to attain an erection he needs to be sexually aroused.

Once he is stimulated; nitric oxide (NO) diffuses into the smooth muscle cells activating guanylate cyclase (GC) to change guanosine triphosphate (GTP) into cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). The cGMP causes a decrease in intracellular calcium inducing smooth muscle relaxation, allowing more blood to flow into the vessels of the penis, making the penis rigid and erect.

NO > GC > GTP > cGMP > Increased blood flow to the penis

Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) is responsible for reducing cGMP in the penis. This reduction causes the smooth muscle surrounding the blood vessels to contract, resulting in blood being forced out of the penis and the erection becoming flaccid.

As a PDE-5 inhibitor, Levitra blocks the action of PDE-5, preventing it from breaking down cGMP. This results in an improved blood flow to the penis maintaining the erection.

Is Levitra well tolerated?

A recent International post-marketing surveillance study in over 30,000 patients has shown Levitra to be well-tolerated in most men. The most common side-effects reported were headache, flushing and nasal congestion. (4)

As with all PDE-5 inhibitors, patients taking nitrates (a treatment for a specific heart problem) should not take Levitra and it may not be suitable for some patients with serious heart conditions or when sexual activity is inadvisable. (1)

However, as with all prescription medicines, men should consult their healthcare professional who will advise them accordingly.

What are the potential benefits of taking Levitra?

High first time success, good results in patients with co-morbidities, and a tolerable safety profile are important factors in identifying the most appropriate PDE5 inhibitor. (5) Recent research has shown that first dose efficacy has been reported as the most important treatment attribute, alongside speed of action, by men with ED treated with a PDE5 inhibitor. (5)

74% of ED patients achieve full sexual intercourse with their first Levitra tablet. (2)

1. Levitra Summary of Product Characteristics, 2006
2. Valiquette L et al. Mayo Clin Proc. 2005;80 (10):1291-1297
3. Valiquette L et al. Int J Clin Pract 2006;60(11):1378-1385
4. Cheng E. J Sex Med 2007;4(2):432-439
5. ICM. Market research survey results among men with ED, commissioned by Bayer HealthCare, May 2007

Treatment for erectile dysfunction with Levitra (vardenafil) is available from Dr Fox and Doctor4U.