Vardenafil (Oral)

Vardenafil is used to treat men with erectile dysfunction and is effective when the penis is stroked.


Vardenafil enables men suffering from erectile dysfunction to harden when the penis is stroked. It belongs to a family of medicines called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors. After stroking the penis, the drug lets you keep an erection by improving blow flow. It was designed to improve sexual performance and enjoyment when used as instructed. Vardenafil causes an erection during sexual intercourse or foreplay.

In order to obtain this medication, you need to a doctor's prescription.

The most common brands are:

  • Staxyn
  • Levitra

While sexually stimulated, a man's body typically responds by sending a flow of blood to the penis, which results in the formation of an erection. Controlling the natural enzyme that produces this reaction, vardenafil aids in the natural process when men cannot achieve an erection unaided.

In order to achieve and maintain an erection, the penis must be stroked, which begins blow flow to the area, as desired. Barring this physical action, performed manually or with a sexual partner during intercourse, the penis will not harden even with the ingestion of vardenafil.

Condition treated

  • Erectile Dysfunction

Type of medicine

  • Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors

Side Effects

Serious Side Effects

As with any medication, you can expect possible adverse reactions when using Vardenafil. Along with the desired reactions to this drug, side effects of varying degrees of seriousness could occur. If you have any questions, be sure to consult a medical professional.

For example, check with a doctor right away in case of the following side effects while using this drug:

  • blindness, blurred vision or decreased vision
  • back, jaw or arm pain
  • Struggle to breathe
  • hives, itching, or skin rash
  • dizziness, lightheadedness when getting up from a sitting position
  • chest pain
  • hearing loss

You can also experience nausea and related illnesses.

  • dizziness, headache
  • chills or cold sweats
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • pounding in the ears
  • fainting
  • nausea, confusion
  • sweating
  • vomiting
  • slow or fast heartbeat, nervousness
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Allergic and related side effects that can occur included:

  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • tightness in the chest
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • chest tightness or heaviness
  • tearing or eye pain
  • fast, irregular, pounding or racing heartbeat or pulse

Other Side Effects

Other side effects can occur without as much concern and will not require immediate medical care. If you happen to experience the follow categories of side effects after using this drug, monitor occurrences and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.

If you are uncomfortable due to these symptoms, your doctor may be able to give you advice on over-the-counter medications or other ways to alleviate the symptoms and your discomfort. Feel free to ask a relevant healthcare professional any questions that you might have after noticing the following flu-like symptoms.

  • Sneezing or congestion
  • Hot flashes on your face, arms or neck
  • Feeling of heat on the upper chest
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose

Stomach and abdominal side effects

  • Abnormal ejaculation
  • abdominal or stomach pain
  • abnormal vision
  • acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bloody nose

Back and body aches

  • body aches or pain
  • back pain
  • tenderness in the stomach area
  • neck pain
  • muscle aches and pains
  • muscle cramping
  • muscle stiffness
  • muscle tension or tightness

Burning or itching

  • burning feeling in the chest or stomach
  • itching, burning, crawling, tingling, numbness, prickling
  • changes in color vision
  • changes in vision
  • congestion
  • cough

Vision and sensory

  • difficulty seeing at night
  • eye pain
  • watery eyes
  • difficulty with moving
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dim vision
  • dry mouth
  • dryness or soreness of the throat
  • excessive muscle tone
  • face swelling
  • fast heartbeat
  • sensation of movement, vertigo
  • fever
  • general feeling of illness
  • heartburn
  • hoarseness
  • increased redness of the eye
  • increased sensitivity to sunlight
  • indigestion
  • joint pain
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss of appetite


  • pain or burning in the throat
  • runny nose
  • sensation of spinning
  • shivering
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • sore throat
  • ulcers, sores, or white spots inside the mouth
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • swollen joints
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • tenderness in the stomach area
  • diarrhea
  • trouble with sleeping
  • trouble with swallowing
  • voice changes

This is an extensive list of side effects, but everyone experiences drugs and related side effects in a unique way. Check with your doctor or health care professional with any questions you might have.

The FDA also has a hotline for these types of questions. Contact them at 1-800-FDA-1080.


This product is available in the following dosage form:

  • Tablet

Vardenafil dosage amounts will vary from patient to patient based on a number of factors. It's important to follow your healthcare professional's directions and the directions on the drug label. In particular, review the following information that should be available regarding the doses of medicine. This is a general guideline and doesn't take the place of the directions your doctor has provided. If your dose is different, go by your personal prescription.

Every medicine varies, and the stronger the medicine the more care you should take. Feel free to ask questions about the amount of Vardenafil you are prescribed and the strength of the dosage. Be sure that you understand all the instructions you receive.


For erectile dysfunction treatment, oral dosage of disintegrating tablets is 10 milligrams per dose for adult males, no more than once daily. The dosage should be taken about an hour before sex.


This is strictly an adult medication and should be kept out of reach of children.


For erectile dysfunction treatment in men over 65, oral dosage of disintegrating tablets is 5 milligrams per dose for adult males, no more than once daily. The dosage should be taken about an hour before sex.

Consult with your doctor about your dosages and avoid taking more than 20 mg once per day.


Interactions can occur when you take more than one medicine at a time. Some medicines shouldn't be combined under any circumstances, but others can be combined with little or no chance of negative results. In these cases, ask your healthcare professional if a dosage change should be considered, or other precautions may be necessary. When taking this medicine while on prescription or other drugs, ask your doctor if it's safe.

In the meantime, consult the listing below for drugs that should not be taken with Vardenafil. Though this is a long and extensive list, it's not meant to be comprehensive or necessarily all-inclusive.

Unless specifically directed to by your doctor, avoid mixing Vardenafil with the medicines listed below. If your doctor does prescribe any of these medicines, let her know that you use drug enhancement for erectile dysfunction.

Drugs Not Recommended for Use with Vardenafil:

  • Pimozide
  • Amisulpride
  • Riociguat
  • Dronedarone
  • Bepridil
  • Thioridazine
  • Propatyl Nitrate
  • Piperaquine
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Ziprasidone
  • Amyl Nitrite
  • Isosorbide Mononitrate
  • Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate
  • Isosorbide Dinitrate
  • Erythrityl Tetranitrate
  • Mesoridazine
  • Amifampridine
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Nelfinavir
  • Fluconazole
  • Cisapride
  • Terfenadine
  • Posaconazole

Other Drug Interactions

Using Vardenafil with any of the following isn't recommended, but could be unavoidable in certain cases. Extra care is required when mixing and matching medications of any type but the combinations are sometimes required and unavoidable. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may need to adjust dosages of one or both medicines as well as adjust how often you take them. Report any adverse symptoms immediately.

  • Voriconazole
  • Ivabradine
  • Cobicistat
  • Trazodone
  • Apomorphine
  • Clomipramine
  • Efavirenz
  • Gonadorelin
  • Sevoflurane
  • Azithromycin
  • Sematilide
  • Iloperidone
  • Octreotide
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Dofetilide
  • Granisetron
  • Goserelin
  • Leuprolide
  • Desipramine
  • Zuclopenthixol
  • Procainamide
  • Arsenic Trioxide
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Pasireotide
  • Sulpiride
  • Telithromycin
  • Ketoconazole
  • Propafenone
  • Sunitinib
  • Promethazine
  • Methadone
  • Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic
  • Levofloxacin
  • Paliperidone
  • Deslorelin
  • Perflutren Lipid Microsphere
  • Pitolisant
  • Salmeterol
  • Dabrafenib
  • Vandetanib
  • Dasatinib
  • Mefloquine
  • Toremifene
  • Lopinavir
  • Domperidone
  • Ceritinib
  • Sodium Phosphate
  • Ondansetron
  • Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic
  • Trifluoperazine
  • Sorafenib
  • Anagrelide
  • Pazopanib
  • Clozapine
  • Nafarelin
  • Conivaptan
  • Degarelix
  • Nilotinib
  • Triptorelin
  • Tedisamil
  • Escitalopram
  • Fingolimod
  • Panobinostat
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Prochlorperazine
  • Amitriptyline
  • Solifenacin
  • Quetiapine
  • Acecainide
  • Azimilide
  • Mifepristone
  • Buserelin
  • Trimipramine
  • Amoxapine
  • Haloperidol
  • Astemizole
  • Darunavir
  • Metronidazole
  • Quinine
  • Pimavanserin
  • Crizotinib
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Lapatinib
  • Tetrabenazine
  • Lumacaftor
  • Norfloxacin
  • Chloroquine
  • Dolasetron
  • Flecainide
  • Lumefantrine
  • Citalopram
  • Histrelin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Asenapine
  • Telaprevir
  • Moricizine
  • Simeprevir
  • Idelalisib
  • Aripiprazole
  • Vemurafenib
  • Amiodarone
  • Quinidine
  • Saquinavir
  • Fluoxetine
  • Erythromycin
  • Delamanid
  • Tacrolimus
  • Bretylium
  • Protriptyline
  • Vinflunine
  • Donepezil
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Ranolazine
  • Ibutilide
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Sotalol
  • Nortriptyline
  • Halofantrine
  • Imipramine
  • Disopyramide

Other Interactions

Some medicines are unsafe to take at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since adverse interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions are listed because of their known potential significance, but this isn't an inclusive listing.

You shouldn't use this medicine with any of the following, or you will be at an increased risk of certain side effects. If your doctor approves the combination and it's necessary, you may have to accept the risks. In the unlikely event both medicines are prescribed together, check with your doctor to see if a change in the dosage or frequency is required for one or both medications.

  • Amprenavir
  • Silodosin
  • Tolazoline
  • Phentolamine
  • Moxisylyte
  • Terazosin
  • Urapidil
  • Tamsulosin
  • Dapiprazole
  • Bunazosin
  • Indinavir
  • Phenoxybenzamine
  • Doxazosin
  • Alfuzosin
  • Prazosin


Tell your doctor all prescription and other medications you are taking when you seek a prescription for Vardenafil. In case you require emergency medical assistance for respiratory or heart issues, your doctor needs to have all your medications on file, as well as the latest dosage you took.

It is not recommended that you use this medicine when simultaneously taking nitrates or other medicine for heart diseases, such as high blood pressure or angina. Medicines with nitrates include the following (not a comprehensive listing):

  • Nitro-Bid®
  • Imdur®
  • nitroglycerin
  • Nitrolingual® spray
  • isosorbide
  •  Nitrostat®
  • Transderm Nitro®
  • Nitrol® ointment
  • Nitro-Dur®

It is highly recommended that you do not use illegal street drugs, like poppers, that have amyl nitrate or butyl nitrate. Used in conjunction with Vardenafil, these drugs can cause erratic heart beats.

Don't use this medicine if you are taking riociguat, which goes by the brand name Adempas®.

Prolonged Erections and Other Serious Warnings

There is a chance that you could suffer a long and painful erection. If you get an erection that lasts more than four hours, call your doctor immediately. In general, erections after taking this drug shouldn't be painful. Ignoring unusual erections can cause real and permanent damage to your penis. It's important to put your health first and not be too embarrassed to get help right away.

Although rarer, you could have a loss of vision in either or both eyes as a result of the changes your body goes through while under the influence of Vardenafil.

If you lose your hearing temporarily, experience ringing in the ears, or become dizzy, see your doctor right away.

There is a special risk to those suffering from high blood pressure, since vardenafil can cause severely low blood pressure. If you are on high blood pressure, watch out for faintness, blurred vision, dizziness, confusion. If you are lightheaded upon standing up from a sitting position, sweating, weak or tired, seek medical help.

Prior to taking other medicines, make sure that you discuss it with a medical professional. This includes both nonprescription and prescription medications, including vitamins and supplements.

With this medication, you need to carefully consider all your medication. There are many factors to consider, including the following:


As with other medicine, let your doctor know if you ever experience allergies to medicines and which types. Your doctor will also need to record allergies to animals, foods, preservatives, and dyes.

For non-prescription items, read labels carefully.


Vardenafil is not intended for use by children. If accidentally ingested, seek medical help immediately.


Reduced dosages are recommended for men over 65, although there isn't enough conclusive data on the topic.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Animal studies have shown that exposure to Vardenafil can harm the fetus during pregnancy. However, since this is medication is intended for men, there isn't enough information for conclusive findings.

Similarly, no comprehensive studies are available to determine the impact of Vardenafil on nursing mothers. It is not known if there is a secondary effect of sexual intercourse with men using Vardenafil.

Other Medical Problems

Other medical conditions can also affect the efficacy of this medication. Some of the problems to look out for especially include:

  • Curved or abnormally shaped penis
  • Crowded optic disc
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION)
  • Peyronie disease
  • Sickle-cell anemia (blood disorder)
  • Fructose intolerance
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • QT prolongation (rare heart condition)
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)—The Staxyn® disintegrating tablet contains aspartame, which can make this condition worse.


Store this medication at room temperature, out of the heat and moisture. Store out of direct sunlight. Do not freeze the medicine. To avoid accidental consumption:

  • Keep this and all medication out of the reach of children.
  • Discard expired medicine.

Ask your doctor about any medication you are sure of.


If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction, Vardenafil is an effective treatment to get your love life back on course. By using it properly, you can minimize any negative outcomes and side effects. To do that, use this medicine only after you have spoken to your doctor. Specifically ask how often it's safe to use it. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. If you use too much, you increase the risk to your health and well-being.

Your Vardenafil prescription should come with a leaflet that explains all the implication of taking it. Follow these and other instructions carefully, asking your pharmacist any questions you may have.

Vardenafil is safe to take with or without food, but needs to be taken at the right time to have the desired effect. Usually, the instructions your doctor provides specify that the medicine works the best an hour after you take it but requires stimulation of the penis. The timing can be tricky for you and your partner, but with a little planning, you can enjoy the full effect of the medication for more consistent performance.

When using the dosage options that come in a disintegrating tablet, dry your hands carefully prior to picking up or handling the pill. If your hands are wet, the tablet could come apart in your hand before you take it.

  • The tablets come in a blister packet, but once you pop it, you should make sure to towel dry your hands before you open or handle the packet to avoid getting any of the other pills wet.
  • Peel back the foil to remove the tablet out.
  • Try not to push the tablet up through the foil packaging.
  • For best results, put the pill on your tongue. Let it melt there prior to chewing or swallowing the whole tablet at once.

A few more quick notes on taking the medicine:

  • Don't take it with water or any other liquid. (Especially avoid grapefruit juice with this medicine.)
  • When you take it, don't crush, break or chew the tablet, which needs to dissolve quickly for the best results.

Remember that there are different brands of Vardenafil. Use the one recommended and prescribed by your doctor. Different brands can yield different results.

Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018