|Trade names||Levitra, Staxyn, Vivanza, others|
|Drug class||PDE5 inhibitor|
|Main uses||Erectile dysfunction|
|Side effects||Headache, allergic reactions, low blood pressure, QT prolongation, priapism|
|Onset of action||~45 min|
|Typical dose||10 mg|
|Elimination half-life||4–5 hours|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||488.61 g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
Vardenafil, sold under the brand name Levitra among others, is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction. It is taken by mouth. Onset is generally in 30 to 60 minutes. There is no evidence of benefit of one agent, within this family, over another.
Common side effects include headache. Other side effects may include allergic reactions, low blood pressure, QT prolongation, and priapism. A lower dose is recommended in those with moderate liver problems. Use with nitrovasodilators is not recommended. It is a PDE5 inhibitor and works by decreasing the breakdown of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP).
Vardenafil was approved for medical use in Europe and the United States in 2003. It is available as a generic medication. In the United Kingdom it costs about 5 pounds per 10 mg dose. In the United States this amount costs about 17 USD as of 2021.
Vardenafil's indications and contraindications are the same as with other PDE5 inhibitors; it is closely related in function to sildenafil citrate (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis). The difference between the vardenafil molecule and sildenafil citrate is a nitrogen atom's position and the change of sildenafil's piperazine ring methyl group to an ethyl group. Tadalafil is structurally different from both sildenafil and vardenafil. Vardenafil's relatively short effective time is comparable to but somewhat longer than sildenafil's.
Beyond its indications for erectile dysfunction, vardenafil may be effective in the treatment of premature ejaculation, where it may significantly increase the time from penetration to ejaculation.
The typical dose is 10 mg, though 5 to 20 mg may be used.
The common, adverse drug reactions (side effects) are the same as with other PDE5 inhibitors. The frequent vardenafil-specific side-effect is nausea; the infrequent side effects are abdominal pain, back pain, photosensitivity, abnormal vision, eye pain, facial edema, hypotension, palpitation, tachycardia, arthralgia, myalgia, rash, itch, and priapism.
One possibly serious, but rare, side effect with vardenafil is heart attack. Also, in rare cases, vardenafil use may cause priapism, a very painful emergency condition that can cause impotence if left untreated.
On 18 October 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a warning about possible deafness (sudden hearing loss) would be added to the drug labels of vardenafil, and other PDE5 inhibitors.
Vardenafil, as with all PDE5 inhibitors, should not be used by people taking nitrate medications, because combining them with vardenafil might provoke potentially life-threatening hypotension (low blood pressure).
Vardenafil was co-marketed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, and Schering-Plough under the trade name Levitra. As of 2005, the co-promotion rights of GSK on Levitra have been returned to Bayer in many markets outside the U.S. In Italy, Bayer sells vardenafil as Levitra and GSK sells it as Vivanza. Thus, because of European Union trade rules, parallel imports might result in Vivanza sold next to Levitra in the EU.
Society and culture
It is available in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg doses in round orange tablets. The normal starting dose is 10 mg (roughly equivalent to 50 mg of sildenafil). Vardenafil should be taken 1 to 2 hours prior to sexual activity, with a maximum dose frequency of once per day. In some territories, such as the UK, only certain doses may be available.
Vardenafil is also available under the name Staxyn as a tablet which dissolves on the tongue rather than being swallowed in the form of a pill.
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