How does vardenafil work?
During sexual arousal, the penis becomes erect because it is filled with blood. To become erect the blood vessels of the penis need to dilate (expand) and relax the muscles. This process is based on a chemical called nitric oxide.
Vardenafil belongs to a group of drugs called phosphodiesterase inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors). PDE5 inhibitors exert their effects by increasing levels of nitrous oxide in the tissues of the penis.
Why choose vardenafil?
Vardenafil provides an alternative option for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Studies have shown that vardenafil is safe and effective and usually works well to improve erections and overall sexual performance.
Side effects are possible with all PDE5 inhibitors, but these are not more common with vardenafil than with others.
Vardenafil should be taken about 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse and is effective for about 4-5 hours. It will not work without sexual stimulation.
How to take vardenafil?
The first time you take vardenafil, start with a 10mg tablet. Depending on the response, this dose may then be increased to 20 mg, or reduced to 5 mg. Usually men find that the 10mg dose works well.
It should be taken 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse with or without food. However, a fatty meal delays absorption and should be avoided.
It can be taken with a small amount of alcohol, but alcohol reduces all aspects of sexual performance.
Vardenafil should not be taken more than once in 24 hours.
It is important to understand that vardenafil and other PDE5 inhibitors may not be effective the first time you use them. Try to stay open and be ready to try many times. As a general rule, stick with the same dose you took the last time before increasing the dose and only climb to the highest strength if vardenafil has not worked as well as you hoped on several occasions.
Men should not take vardenafil without further assessment from their GP when the following apply:
- Low or high blood pressure
- Allergies or reactions to previous ED treatments
- Recent heart attack (within 6 weeks) or you suffer from angina (heart pain while exercising) or any form of heart disease
- History of strokes or mini-strokes (transient ischemic attack)
- History of vision problems caused by traffic problems
- History in the family of rare degenerative eye diseases
- Severe renal (renal) or liver disease
- Peyronie’s disease – angulation or deformation of the penis
- Leukemia, multiple myeloma or sickle cell disease
- Bleeding disorders (such as haemophilia)
- Current active stomach ulcers (peptic ulcer or gastric ulcer)
Side effects of vardenafil:
The most common side effect affecting up to 1 in 10 men is headache. The next most common side effects are dizziness, flushing of the face, indigestion and stuffy nose.
A complete list of side effects can be found in the manufacturer’s patient information booklet.
If you feel dizzy after taking vardenafil or any of the PDE5 inhibitors, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery.