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Vardenafil: What You Need to Know

Vardenafil: What You Need to Know

By Kire Stojkovski M.D
Editor Jonathan Hoarau Published 19 February 2024
Time to read 8 min

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common sexual disorder affecting millions of men globally. It’s characterized by the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. This condition can significantly impact a man’s quality of life, affecting his self-esteem and relationships.

Several factors contribute to ED, including physical health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, psychological issues like stress and anxiety, and lifestyle factors like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Despite its prevalence, many men hesitate to seek medical help due to embarrassment or misconceptions. However, it is essential to understand that ED is a treatable medical condition. Treatment options are available, from lifestyle changes and counseling to medications and surgical interventions.

One such medication that has proven to be effective in the treatment of ED is Vardenafil. It belongs to a class of drugs known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, which also include Sildenafil (Viagra) and Tadalafil (Cialis). These medications are now the first-line treatment for ED, providing relief for many men.

Understanding Vardenafil as a Treatment

Vardenafil, sold under Levitra, is a potent oral medication for erectile dysfunction. Since its approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003, it has helped countless men regain control over their sexual performance.

Vardenafil increases blood flow to the penis, enabling an erection to be achieved and maintained during sexual stimulation. It does not cause an erection but aids in the natural process when a man is sexually excited. This action makes Vardenafil effective, especially for men with difficulty maintaining an erection.

One of the significant advantages of Vardenafil over other ED treatments is its rapid onset of action. Most men find that the effects start within 15-30 minutes of taking the medication, making it ideal for spontaneous sexual activity. Furthermore, unlike some other ED treatments, Vardenafil requires no dietary restrictions and can be taken with or without food.

How Does Vardenafil Work?

When a man is sexually aroused, nitric oxide is released in the penis. This chemical stimulates the production of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), a substance that relaxes the smooth muscles in the penis and increases blood flow. The increased blood flow allows an erection to occur. 

However, an enzyme called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) breaks down cGMP, reducing blood flow and potentially leading to erectile dysfunction. Vardenafil works by inhibiting the action of PDE5, allowing cGMP to remain in the penis for a more extended period and promoting a sustained erection. [1]

It is important to note that Vardenafil does not provide an instant erection. Sexual stimulation is still necessary for an erection to occur. The medication merely enhances the natural process that occurs during sexual arousal.

The Benefits of Vardenafil

Vardenafil offers several benefits over other ED treatments. First and foremost, it is highly effective, with studies showing it can help up to 80% of men with erectile dysfunction. This makes it one of the most potent ED medications available. [2]

Another significant benefit is its rapid onset of action. Vardenafil typically starts working within 15-30 minutes of ingestion, although some men may experience effects within 10 minutes. This fast action makes it an excellent choice for men who prefer spontaneity in their sexual activities.

Moreover, Vardenafil has a relatively long duration of action, lasting up to six hours. This gives ample time for sexual activity without taking another dose. Additionally, unlike other ED treatments, Vardenafil does not interact negatively with certain foods and can be taken with or without meals.

Vardenafil Dosage

The initial recommended dose of Vardenafil is 10 mg, taken as needed approximately 60 minutes before sexual activity. Depending on the drug’s efficacy and tolerability, the dose may be increased to a maximum recommended dose of 20 mg or decreased to 5 mg. It’s important to note that the maximum dosing frequency is once per day.

It’s crucial to adhere to the prescribed dosage to ensure the effectiveness of the medication and reduce the risk of adverse effects. If you experience severe side effects or the medication doesn’t work, consult your healthcare provider immediately.

Potential Side Effects of Vardenafil

Like all medications, Vardenafil can cause side effects, although not everyone experiences them. The most common side effects include headaches, flushing, nasal congestion, and indigestion.[1]

In rare cases, Vardenafil may cause serious side effects such as sudden vision loss or hearing loss. If these occur, immediate medical attention is necessary. It is important to note that Vardenafil should not be used by individuals who are allergic to it or have been advised against sexual activity due to heart problems. [1]

Furthermore, Vardenafil may interact with other medications, including nitrates (used to treat chest pain) and alpha-blockers (used to treat prostate problems or high blood pressure). Therefore, it is crucial to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications you are currently taking before starting Vardenafil.

How to Use Vardenafil?

Vardenafil is generally taken as needed, approximately 60 minutes before sexual activity. The recommended starting dose is 10 mg, although this can be adjusted up or down depending on how well it works and how well it is tolerated. The medication should not be taken more than once a day.

It’s important to remember that Vardenafil does not cure erectile dysfunction or increase sexual desire. It merely assists in achieving and maintaining an erection during sexual activity. Also, it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, so safe sex practices should still be followed.

Interactions and Precautions

Certain medications can interact with Vardenafil, leading to undesired effects. For instance, using Vardenafil with nitrate medications used for treating chest pain or high blood pressure can lead to a severe and sudden decrease in blood pressure. Certain recreational drugs, known as “poppers,” also contain nitrates and should be avoided when using Vardenafil.

Other medical conditions can also influence the effectiveness of Vardenafil. If you have a history of heart problems, liver disease, kidney disease, or a rare heart condition known as QT prolongation, Vardenafil should be used cautiously.

It’s advisable to avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while using Vardenafil. Grapefruit can interact with Vardenafil, leading to potentially adverse effects.

What is Staxyn?

Staxyn is an FDA-approved drug used for treating ED. Its active ingredient is vardenafil, a type of PDE5 inhibitor. Staxyn is unique because it is a dissolvable tablet designed to be placed on the tongue rather than swallowed whole. This makes it a more convenient option for many individuals.

How to use Staxyn

When it comes to using Staxyn, the process is relatively straightforward. The medication should be placed on the tongue and allowed to dissolve completely. This should be done about an hour before sexual activity, and the tablet should not be taken with liquid or food. It’s also important to note that Staxyn should not be taken more than once in 24 hours.

Side effects of Staxyn

Like any medication, Staxyn may cause side effects. The most common side effects of Staxyn include headache, flushing, stuffy or runny nose, and upset stomach. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. However, you should seek medical attention immediately if you experience severe or persistent side effects. Rare but serious side effects include a sudden decrease or loss of hearing or vision, an erection lasting more than 4 hours, or heart attack symptoms.

Staxyn vs. Levitra

Staxyn and Levitra are PDE5 inhibitors with the same active ingredient, vardenafil. The primary difference between the two is the method of administration. While Levitra is a pill that needs to be swallowed, Staxyn is a dissolvable tablet that is placed on the tongue.

This makes Staxyn a more convenient option for many individuals. Both medications effectively treat ED, but the choice will depend on individual preferences and lifestyle considerations.

Vardenafil vs. Other Treatments

Compared to other ED treatments, Vardenafil holds its own. In terms of efficacy, it is comparable to Sildenafil and Tadalafil, with all three medications helping most men with ED.

However, it has a distinct advantage over Sildenafil’s ability to be taken with food. Sildenafil’s effectiveness can be diminished with a high-fat meal, but this is not the case with Vardenafil. Moreover, compared to Tadalafil, which can take up to two hours to work, Vardenafil has a faster onset of action.

As for the side effects, Vardenafil is generally well-tolerated, with most side effects being mild and temporary. It also has a lower rate of visual disturbances compared to Sildenafil.

Conclusion on Vardenafil as an Effective Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a prevalent condition that can severely impact a man’s quality of life. However, with treatments like Vardenafil, men can regain control over their sexual performance.

Vardenafil offers a potent, fast-acting, and long-lasting solution for ED.

It enhances the natural process during sexual arousal, allowing men to achieve and maintain an erection. While they may have side effects, they are generally mild and temporary, and the benefits significantly outweigh the risks for most men.

In conclusion, Vardenafil has proven to be an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction. It offers hope for men who have struggled with this condition.


1. 1. Morales AM, Mirone V, Dean J, Costa P. Vardenafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction: an overview of the clinical evidence. Clin Interv Aging. 2009;4:463-72. doi: 10.2147/cia.s3878. Epub 2009 Dec 29. PMID: 20054411; PMCID: PMC2801586.

2. 2. Valiquette L, Montorsi F, Auerbach S. Vardenafil demonstrates first-dose success and reliability of penetration and maintenance of erection in men with erectile dysfunction – RELY-II. Can Urol Assoc J. 2008 Jun;2(3):187-95. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.590. Erratum in: Can Urol Assoc J. 2009 Oct;3(5):376. PMID: 18682779; PMCID: PMC2494903.