Come September, there will be a new drug for erectile dysfunction that will challenge Viagra’s current monopoly of the market. The drug is called Levitra. A major advantage of Levitra in the Levitra vs Viagra argument is that it works faster. Some men have achieved an erection 16 minutes after taking a dose of generic Levitra. According to Viagra manufacturers, half of men using Viagra can have an erection within 20 minutes.
However, 4 minutes can make a lot of difference.
On August 19, 2003, the FDA issued its approval of Levitra (vardenafil), the second oral treatment for erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence in men. The first treatment to be approved is Viagra (sildenafil), which was introduced 5 years earlier.
Millions of men in the United States alone suffer from erectile dysfunction. Levitra helps solve the problem by relaxing the penis muscles and arteries. This allows blood to flow more into the penis, which then produces an erection.
During the testing stages of the drug, more than 2,000 men participated in randomized, placebo-controlled trials. The drug has also been tested on men with diabetes-related ED, as well as those that have undergone prostatectomy for prostate cancer.
After the trials, the subjects were asked to answer several questions relating to sexual function after taking the medication. Results of the surveys showed that the subjects had achieved an adequately firm erection and were able to sustain a satisfactory erection all throughout sexual intercourse.
The average man is to take a dose of 10 mg about an hour before planned sexual activity. For patients who do not achieve satisfactory results with the 10 mg, there is also a 20 mg dose available. Some patients may not be allowed to take a high dose due to their health conditions, or because they are taking other medications that may not agree with vardenafil. For these patients, there are doses of 2.5 mg and 5 mg available as well. Levitra must only be taken once a day, at the most.
In order to avoid complications due to mixing Levitra with other medications, men must inform their physicians if they are taking Levitra before taking any other medication. For instance, men who are taking Norvir for HIV/AIDS are only allowed a maximum of 2.5 mg of Levitra every 72 hours. Also, 5 mg is the maximum dose for patients who are taking erythromycin.
Levitra manufacturers recommend taking extra precaution for men with health conditions. There are specific conditions when Levitra should absolutely be avoided.
Levitra should never be taken with alpha-blockers (used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia or high blood pressure) or nitrates (including patches). Doing so will result in a very low blood pressure, which can even lead to fainting. Even the lower doses of Levitra have not been proven safe to take with alpha-blockers.
Men who are experiencing a “prolongation of the QT interval”, which is a rare heart condition, should not use Levitra as this might cause irregular heart rhythm.
Levitra should also be avoided by men who have low blood pressure, uncontrolled high blood pressure, active angina, liver conditions, final stage renal disease, or retinitis pigmentosa. It is also not recommended for men who have suffered a heart attack or stroke in the last 6 months. Finally, Levitra must not be taken by men who are prohibited from having sexual activity due to heart conditions.
Reported side effects of Levitra in the clinical tests include headaches, indigestion, flushing and nasal congestion. Less common side effects were abnormal vision and dizziness.
All patients are advised to consult with their physicians and undergo a complete medical examination to determine the best medication, before using Levitra.
Levitra does not present any protection against AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.
Levitra is produced by Bayer Corporation in Germany and will be distributed by Glaxo-Smith Kline. As of now, Levitra is only available in Europe.