Levitra® is a type of medication known as a PDE5 inhibitor that is used to treat erectile dysfunction. It comes in several different doses and is taken as-needed.

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Levitra® functions similarly to Viagra®, however it comes in different doses, has an increased risk of a change seen on EKG known as QT prolongation (which can lead to irregular heartbeats, which can be dangerous), and has a decreased risk of causing the bluish visual tint that is sometimes experienced by Viagra® users

For erectile dysfunction, Levitra® should be taken without food at least 30-60 minutes before sex and its effects last up to 8 hours.

Serious side effects include an erection lasting more than 4 hours, sudden vision loss in one or both eyes, and sudden hearing decrease or loss. If these occur, seek medical attention immediately.

Talk to your doctor about your medical conditions and your medications before taking Levitra®. Do not take Levitra® if you are allergic to its ingredients or if you are already taking nitrates (such as nitroglycerin), street drugs called “poppers” (such as amyl nitrate, amyl nitrite, butyl nitrate), or guanylate cyclase stimulators (such as riociguat).

What is Levitra?

Levitra® is a drug that is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). It comes in four doses, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg. The 10 mg dose is the most common starting dose, although some people may benefit from higher or lower doses. Levitra® is part of a “family” of medicines used to treat ED called phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE5i). Other drugs in this family include Cialis (tadalafil), Viagra (sildenafil), and Stendra (avanafil). All of these drugs have the same mechanism of action, but there are subtle differences that may cause your doctor to recommend one drug out of the others based on your preferences and treatment goals.

How Long Does Levitra Last?

Levitra® is a short acting drug with an average half-life of 4–5 hours, which means that half the medicine is gone from the body after 4–5 hours in healthy people. Levitra is effective for up to 8 hours. The time that it takes to eliminate Levitra® may be prolonged in older people and people with liver or kidney disease meaning the drug may work longer in these people.

Levitra vs. Viagra

Levitra® functions very similarly to Viagra® with a few key differences. Levitra® comes in doses of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg, while Viagra® comes in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg doses. The most common starting dose for Viagra® is 50 mg, and the most common dose for Levitra® is 10 mg. The use of Levitra® increases the likelihood of QT prolongation (a change seen on an EKG), which can sometimes be followed by irregular heartbeats. In rare cases, QT prolongation can cause dangerous abnormal heart rhythms that can even be fatal. Also, Levitra® does not cause the bluish visual tint sometimes caused by Viagra®. This is because unlike Viagra®, Levitra® does not inhibit PDE6, which is found in the retina and can cause visual color changes when blocked or inhibited. It’s also important to note that side effects are very individual, and someone who has side effects with one drug may not have them with the other. Talk to your doctor about the risks and possible side effects before you begin taking Levitra or Viagra.

Levitra® Dosage: Is Higher Always Better?

Some people think that higher is always better when it comes to ED medication and may even take more than the highest FDA-approved dose of Levitra®, which is 20 mg. Levitra® has been studied in doses higher than 20 mg, including 40 mg twice daily. The reason the maximum FDA-approved dose of Levitra® is 20 mg is because above that dosage there is very little increase in benefit with a much higher risk of side effects. Even within the FDA-approved doses, there is only an additional response in about 5% of men when going from 10 mg to 20 mg.

How Can I Make Levitra More Effective?

The most important things to do to maximize effectiveness of Levitra® is to take it properly, as prescribed. This means it should not be taken with a high fat meal. Taking Levitra® with a high fat meal delays absorption by about 1 hour and also decreases the maximum blood level. This effect of delayed absorption was not shown with a meal that was lower in fat.

It’s also important to take Levitra® at the correct time. It should be taken 30–60 minutes before sexual activity. The effects of Levitra typically last for a maximum of about 8 hours, although its strongest effects are within the first 4 hours.

It is also recommended to not mix Levitra® with alcohol. Levitra® should not be taken more than once every 24 hours, and you should never mix Levitra® with other ED medications.

1. Taking Levitra® with a high fat meal delays absorption by about 1 hour and also decreases the maximum blood level.

2. It should be taken 30–60 minutes before sexual activity.

3. The effects of Levitra typically last for a maximum of about 8 hours, although its strongest effects are within the first 4 hours.

4. It is also recommended to not mix Levitra® with alcohol.

Common Side Effects of Levitra

The most common side effects of Levitra® include headaches, facial flushing, stuffy nose, and upset stomach. Serious side effects that are rare include an erection that will not resolve even after 3–4 hours (priapism), hearing loss, which can be sudden, and vision loss in one or both eyes. For more information about side effects, see Levitra® side effects below.

Important Safety Information

What Should You Know Before Taking Levitra®


Who should not take Levitra®?

Do not take Levitra® if you:

  • take medicines called nitrates (such as nitroglycerin)
  • use street drugs called “poppers” such as amyl nitrate or amyl nitrite, and butyl nitrate
  • take any medicines called guanylate cyclase stimulators such as riociguat (Adempas)
  • are allergic to vardenafil, as contained in Levitra®, or any of the ingredients in Levitra®. See the end of this leaflet for a complete list of ingredients in Levitra®.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking Levitra®?

To make sure Levitra® is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following before you take Levitra®:

  • Have or have had heart problems such as a heart attack, irregular heartbeat, angina, chest pain, narrowing of the aortic valve, or heart failure
  • Have had heart surgery within the last 6 months
  • Have pulmonary hypertension
  • Have had a stroke
  • Have had a seizure
  • Or any family members have a rare heart condition known as prolongation of the QT interval (long QT syndrome).
  • Have low blood pressure, or high blood pressure that is not controlled
  • Have a deformed penis shape
  • Have had an erection that lasted for more than 4 hours
  • Have problems with your blood cells such as sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia
  • Have retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic (runs in families) eye disease
  • Have ever had severe vision loss, including an eye problem called NAION
  • Have bleeding problems
  • Have or have had stomach or intestinal ulcers
  • Have liver problems
  • Have kidney problems or are having kidney dialysis
  • Have any other medical conditions

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Levitra® may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect the way Levitra® works, causing side effects.

Drug Interactions

Tell your healthcare provider if you take any of the following because these drugs interact with Levitra®:

  • Medicines called nitrates
  • Medicines called guanylate cyclase stimulators such as Adempas® (riociguat)
  • Medicines called alpha-blockers such as Hytrin® (terazosin HCl), Flomax® (tamsulosin HCl), Cardura® (doxazosin mesylate), Minipress® (prazosin HCl), Uroxatral® (alfuzosin HCl), Jalyn® (dutasteride and tamsulosin HCl), or Rapaflo® (silodosin). Alpha-blockers are sometimes prescribed for prostate problems or high blood pressure. In some patients, the use of VIAGRA® or generic VIAGRA® with alpha-blockers can lead to a drop in blood pressure or to fainting
  • Medicines called HIV protease inhibitors, such as ritonavir (Norvir®), indinavir sulfate (Crixivan®), saquinavir (Fortovase® or Invirase®), or atazanavir sulfate (Reyataz®)
  • Oral antifungal medicines, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral®) and itraconazole (Sporanox®)
  • Antibiotics, such as clarithromycin (Biaxin®), telithromycin (Ketek®), or erythromycin
  • Other medicines that treat high blood pressure
  • Other medicines or treatments for ED
  • Levitra® should not be used with Revatio® (sildenafil citrate) or with other PAH (pulmonary hypertension) treatments containing sildenafil citrate or any other PDE5 inhibitors (such as Adcirca [tadalafil])

Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a list of these medicines, if you are not sure.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Levitra® Side Effects

What are the possible side effects of Levitra®?

Levitra® can cause serious side effects. Rarely reported side effects include:

  • an erection that will not go away (priapism). If you have an erection that lasts more than 4 hours, get medical help right away. If it is not treated right away, priapism can permanently damage your penis.
  • sudden vision loss in one or both eyes. Sudden vision loss in one or both eyes can be a sign of a serious eye problem called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). It is uncertain whether PDE5 inhibitors directly cause the vision loss. Stop taking Cialis® and call your healthcare provider right away if you have sudden vision loss in one or both eyes.
  • sudden hearing decrease or hearing loss. Some people may also have ringing in their ears (tinnitus) or dizziness. If you have these symptoms, stop takingCialis® or generic Cialis® and contact a doctor right away.

The most common side effects of Viagra® and generic Cialis® are:

  • headache
  • flushing
  • upset stomach
  • abnormal vision, such as changes in color vision (such as having a blue color tinge) and blurred vision
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • muscle pain
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • rash
  • back pain

In addition, heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeats and death have happened rarely in men taking Levitra®. Most, but not all, of these men had heart problems before taking Levitra®. It is not known if Levitra® caused these problems.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Levitra®. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.