How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Vardenafil belongs to the class of medications called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors. It is used to treat erectile dysfunction (male impotence). It helps to achieve penile erection sufficient for sexual activity to occur. It does this by allowing a greater blood flow into the penis when a man taking the medication is sexually aroused. It works only with sexual stimulation and does not increase sexual desire.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each orange, film-coated, round tablet, embossed with "BAYER" cross on one side and "5" on the other side, contains vardenafil hydrochloride equivalent to 5 mg of vardenafil. Nonmedicinal ingredients: anhydrous colloidal silica, crospovidone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, red ferric oxide, titanium dioxide, and yellow ferric oxide.
Each orange, film-coated, round tablet, embossed with "BAYER" cross on one side and "10" on the other side, contains vardenafil hydrochloride equivalent to 10 mg of vardenafil. Nonmedicinal ingredients: anhydrous colloidal silica, crospovidone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, red ferric oxide, titanium dioxide, and yellow ferric oxide.
Each orange, film-coated, round tablet, embossed with "BAYER" cross on one side and "20" on the other side, contains vardenafil hydrochloride equivalent to 20 mg of vardenafil. Nonmedicinal ingredients: anhydrous colloidal silica, crospovidone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, red ferric oxide, titanium dioxide, and yellow ferric oxide.
How should I use this medication?
The usual recommended dose is one 10 mg tablet taken as needed, 25 to 60 minutes before sexual activity. This medication has been shown to be effective within 15 minutes of taking the tablet, and lasts up to 8 to 10 hours later. As the amount of time vardenafil takes to work varies from person to person, starting sexual activity at different times after taking the tablet will determine the optimal time for sexual activity. It is not recommended to take more than one dose per day. Your doctor may recommend a dose as low as 5 mg or as high as 20 mg.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
Vardenafil may be taken with or without food.
Because alcohol can make it more difficult to get an erection, do not drink large amounts of alcohol before sexual activity. Moderate amounts of alcohol (2 drinks for a 70 kg person) will not interfere with the medication.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take higher doses of this medication than prescribed by your doctor. Contact your doctor if you do take a higher dose of vardenafil than prescribed.
Keep this medication out of reach and sight of children. This medication should be stored in its original package, at room temperature between 15°C and 30°C.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you:
- are allergic to vardenafil or any ingredients of this medication
- are taking (or have taken in the past 24 hours) any medication that contains nitrates (e.g., amyl nitrite "poppers," isosorbide mononitrate, isosorbide dinitrate, nitroglycerin, nitric oxide)
- are taking cobicistat, atazanavir, indinavir, ritonavir, or saquinavir (for HIV infection)
- are taking ketoconazole or itraconazole (for fungal infections)
- are taking the medication riociguat (for high blood pressure in the lungs)
- have had an episode of non-arteritic anterior ischaemic optic neuropathy (NAION), an eye condition that is caused by loss of blood flow to the optic nerve
Nitrates are found in medications that are used to treat angina (chest pain). If you are not sure if you are taking nitrates, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Nitrates must NOT be taken by anyone who is using vardenafil because they can cause your blood pressure to drop very low. This may cause dizziness, fainting, heart attack, or stroke.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- flushing (warm or burning feeling, usually in the face)
- stuffy nose
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- abnormal vision (e.g., decreased vision, blurry vision, increased sensitivity to light, changes in the ability to tell the difference between blue and green)
- decrease or loss of hearing
- temporary memory loss
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours (this could permanently damage your penis)
- a partial or complete loss of vision
- chest pains, an irregular heartbeat, or shortness of breath when starting sexual activity (if you have a heart condition)
- signs of an allergic reaction (e.g., rash; itching; shortness of breath; swollen face, lips, or throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Alcohol: Consumption of alcohol in large amounts may decrease the ability to get an erection and may also temporarily decrease blood pressure, causing dizziness and fainting.
Blood pressure: Tell your doctor if you are taking medications to treat high blood pressure, as the combination of these medications with vardenafil may add to the blood-pressure-lowering effect of these medications. If you have low blood pressure, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Grapefruit juice: Grapefruit juice can increase the amount of vardenafil in your bloodstream. Do not drink grapefruit juice when taking this medication.
Hearing problems: If you experience a sudden decrease or loss of hearing you should seek medical attention immediately.
Heart conditions: Men who have or have had heart disease or a heart attack or stroke should speak to their doctor before taking any medication for erectile dysfunction. If chest pains, dizziness, or nausea are experienced during sex, the exertion should be stopped and your doctor informed.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Lower doses of this medication may be necessary.
Nitrate-containing medications: Vardenafil should never be taken with any medications that contain nitrates. Blood pressure may drop to life-threatening levels if vardenafil is taken with any nitrate-containing medication (e.g., nitroglycerin tablets, spray, or patches) or any other nitrates (e.g., isosorbide dinitrate or amyl nitrite "poppers").
Dizziness, fainting spells, heart attack, or stroke may be experienced. If use of a nitrate-containing medication is considered medically necessary, a nitrate may only be taken at least 24 hours after the last dose of vardenafil, and only under close medical supervision.
Penis deformation: As with other medications for erectile dysfunction, if you have an anatomical deformation of the penis such as angulation, cavernosal fibrosis, or Peyronie's disease, you should be closely monitored by your doctors if you take this medication.
Prolonged erection: If an erection lasts longer than 4 hours (a rare occurrence), seek immediate medical assistance. If this condition is not treated quickly, tissue damage and permanent loss of the ability to have an erection could result. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions as they may increase your risk of a prolonged erection: sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia.
Prostate problems: Tell your doctor if you are taking medications such as alpha blockers (e.g., doxazosin) to treat prostate problems, as the combination of these medications with vardenafil may add to the blood pressure-lowering effect of these medications.
Sexually transmitted infections: Vardenafil does not protect against sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.
Vision problems/eye conditions: If you experience a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes or other vision-related problems, contact your doctor immediately. Vision loss may be partial or complete. While in some cases the condition may improve over time, the loss can also be permanent.
This rare condition is more likely to occur if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or eye problems, or are over 50 years old or smoke. Vardenafil should not be used by anyone with non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) or retinosa pigmentosa.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Vardenafil is not intended for use by women.
Children: Vardenafil is not intended for use by children or adolescents under 18 years of age.
Seniors: People over the age of 65 years may require lower doses of this medication.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between vardenafil and any of the following:
- alpha-agonists (e.g., clonidine, methyldopa)
- alpha-blockers (e.g., alfuzosin, doxazosin, terazosin)
- angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs; captopril, ramipril)
- angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs; e.g., candesartan, irbesartan, losartan)
- antipsychotics (e.g., chlorpromazine, clozapine, haloperidol, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
- "azole" antifungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
- beta-adrenergic blockers (e.g., atenolol, propranolol, sotalol)
- calcium channel blockers (e.g., amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil)
- diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene)
- grapefruit juice
- HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs; e.g., efavirenz, etravirine, nevirapine)
- HIV protease inhibitors (atazanavir, darunavir, lopinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
- macrolide antibiotics (e.g., clarithromycin, erythromycin)
- any medication that contains nitrates (e.g., amyl nitrite "poppers," isosorbide mononitrate, isosorbide dinitrate, nitroglycerin)
- other phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (e.g., sildenafil, tadalafil)
- tyrosine kinase inhibitors (e.g., imatinib, lapatinib, pazopanib, sunitinib)
Grapefruit juice may increase the amounts of vardenafil in the blood. Only take vardenafil with other medications if prescribed by your doctor.
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, nicotine from cigarettes, and street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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