Diabetes Medications and New Drugs

Vardenafil (LevitraR)

What is Levitra?

Vardenafil is a new treatment for erectile dysfunction in men. It works in a similar way to other preparations such as Sildenafil (ViagraR) or taldenafil (CialisR).

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a term used for difficulty in getting or sustaining an erection. This is described in a separate leaflet.

How does Levitra work?

Erections are controlled by two main chemicals in the body. One of these chemicals helps produce and erection. The second takes it away. If these two chemicals are out of balance the mechanism of erection fails. Levitra works by reducing the action of the second chemical called PDE-5, which is reponsible for ending an erection. This allows an erection to last long enough to complete intercourse.

When does on take it?

You need to take Levitra about half to one hour before sexual activity. It will only work when you are sexually stimulated.

Who should not take Levitra?

  • People who are allergic to Levitra
  • If you take nitrates for treatment of angina
  • If you have a serious heart or liver problem
  • If you have had a stroke or heart attack
  • If you are on kidney dialysis
  • If you have low blood pressure
  • If you have a family history of retinitis pigmentosa

Can I eat and drink with Levitra?

Taking Levitra after a heavy meal may delay the effect. You may take the tablet with or without food

What about driving?

Levitra may make you feel dizzy or effect your vision. If this happens do not drive or use machinery.

What is the recommended dose?

Your doctor will prescribe a suitable dose.

The tablet is available in 3 different strengths - 5mg, 10 mg and 20 mg. Swallow one tablet with a glass of water.

What are the side effects?

The common side effects are headaches and flushing. About one in ten people experience these symptoms. You may also feel sick with dizzyness and a blocked or runny nose.

Less commonly the following effects may be encountered.

  • sensitivity of the eyes to sunlight
  • fainting
  • muscle stiffness
  • painful erection

How often can I use it?

Do not use Levitra more than once a day.


Author Dr Nishan Wijenaike
Consultant Physician
West Suffolk Diabetes Service


Glucose Lowering drugs

Drugs for blood pressure

Cholesterol and other lipid lowering drugs

Drugs to lower cardiovascular risk

Drugs for neuropathic pain

Drugs which help weight loss

Drugs for erectile dysfunction

Drugs for Type 2 diabetes