Levitra is the brand name for Vardenafil which is the active ingredient. 5 years after the launch of the well-known tablet Viagra, Levitra was launched in 2003. Levitra is licensed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in men in the UK and is a commonly prescribed oral treatment for erectile dysfunction. The legal classification for Levitra in the UK is ‘prescription – only medicine’ which means only a doctor can prescribe the medicine on a valid prescription.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a condition experienced by most men at some point in their lives. It is where a man cannot start or get an erection that is hard enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. Sometimes it is referred to as ‘impotence’. Occasional erectile dysfunction is common and is certainly not something to usually worry about. It is normal these days that we all experience stress in one form or another and these stresses and worries of life can sometimes get in the way of sexual stimulation and erections from happening. When there is a lack of erection due to a known stress it is not something usually to be concerned about. It is more of a concern when erectile dysfunction is a continuous problem even on your stress – free days and this can put a strain on relationships too.
In the UK, 1 in 5 men are actually diagnosed with erectile dysfunction but there are some men who have not visited their doctor with this condition because they feel too embarrassed or even ashamed about it. So although we say 1 in 5 men are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, there are probably more sufferers in the UK who we don’t know about.
Causes of erectile dysfunction
There are many causes to consider and there may be more than one cause at a time. Certain lifestyle choices can affect erectile function such as consuming too much of alcohol – particularly over a long period of time. A high-fat diet, smoking and living or working in a stressful environment are all common causes of erectile dysfunction. It is necessary sometimes to make simple changes in your lifestyle such as stopping smoking and finding ways to relax and these can have a positive effect on sexual performance.
Other common causes include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
- Vascular disease
- Parkinson disease
Side effects of some medicines such as anti-depressants and beta blockers
It is important to try to identify the cause of erectile dysfunction and address this in the right way. There are many services available (medical and non-medical) which can help you to manage many of the root causes of experiencing erectile dysfunction.
Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction
Levitra is licensed in the UK for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and is very effective. It works by blocking an enzyme which usually causes the blood vessels to narrow. Instead, the blood vessels are widened and this results in an increase of blood supply to the genitals and therefore helps with getting an erection when sexual stimulation occurs.
Levitra is available in strengths of 5mg, 10mg and 20mg tablets. The usual recommended starting dose is 10mg for most men which is best taken 25 minutes to 60 minutes before the planned sexual activity and should last for up to 8 hours. A maximum of one tablet in 24 hours can be taken, when needed and on an empty stomach to get the quickest absorption.
Side effects of Levitra
All medicines will have some risk of side effects; including Levitra. It is generally well – tolerated by most men and has been generally successful in treating erectile dysfunction.
It is important to note that everyone is different; where one person experiences side effects, another person might not do.
Some of the common side effects of Levitra include:
- Back pain
- Upset stomach
These side effects of Levitra tend to be mild however and in most cases will go away on their own. Some of the side effects can be improved if needed such as taking Paracetamol or Ibuprofen for headaches, indigestion remedies to reduce the upset stomach and nausea could be managed by sucking on some sweets or eating ginger biscuits. Any severe side effects ones that are troublesome should always be reported to the doctor as it could mean that the treatment is not right for you, or the strength is too high.
One important side effect to be aware of is ‘priapism’ and this is where a man has a painful and sustained erection for longer than 4 hours. It is treated as a medical emergency and you should ring 999 or go to A&E if this happens. Priapism is a rare risk and is associated with all of the erectile dysfunction treatments that work in the same way as Levitra. If you do not seek treatment early enough, there may be permanent damage to the penis and so this should be avoided at all costs.
So how long does Levitra last?
In order to get the best out of this medication, it is important that it is taken in the right way and at the right time. That way, the duration of action Levitra provides can be benefited from.
When taking Levitra tablet, make sure that you take it when you actually need it and at 25 minutes to 60 minutes before you plan to have sex. If you take the tablet and have sex less than 25 minutes after, you probably won’t have much of an erection going because you have not waited long enough for the tablet to work! So you need to give some time for the tablet to be absorbed in the body and start working.
Also, you should not wait too long to have sex after taking your tablet. So if you wait longer than 8 hours after swallowing the tablet (which is how long the tablet will last for) you will probably find that it is ineffective and not much of an erection is happening.
Some people assume that an erection automatically occurs after swallowing a tablet and for the whole duration of action of the tablet, however, this is not correct. An erection will only happen in response to sexual stimulation occurring. So when you plan to have sex with your partner, ensure that there is some arousal to allow an erection to be produced. Planning ahead is really important so that you can get the best out of your medication and avoid any disappointment for you and your partner. The sexual stimulation sexually helps to increase the blood flow and increase the effectiveness of the Levitra tablet. If not enough sexual arousal occurs, it can be a cause for the lack of erection and so having a lasting effect will depend on correctly taking the tablet.
Taking the Levitra tablet on an empty stomach also increases effectiveness. If you have a meal just before you take the tablet (especially a high – fat meal), it can delay the absorption of the medication. Any delay in absorption will slow down the effectiveness of the tablet and this is quite easily avoided by simply taking Levitra on an empty stomach.
So if we are to consider ‘how long does Levitra last?’ Well, if correctly taken, Levitra can be a very effective drug that can last up to 8 hours. Ensure that you follow the directions and advice you are given and as always, speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about your prescribed medication.
- BNF.org (Vardenafil)
- www.nhs.org (erectile dysfunction)
Mens Pharmacy is not liable for the currency or accuracy of the information contained in this blog post. For specific information about your personal medical condition, please contact our doctors or pharmacists for advice on [email protected].