Anyone who has been near a television set or has an email account pretty much knows what a drug such as Levitra can do for men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). But unless you are listening closely you might not remember the side effects of the medication.
As with any chemical compound taken into the human body, vardenafil (the generic name for Levitra) can have many effects, not just those intended. Before Levitra was approved for sale by prescription in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed these side effects and determined them not to be sufficient to make the medication dangerous.
From the clinical trials, the three most frequently noted side effects are headaches, flushing, and rhinitis (stuffy or runny noses). These effects were compiled from a study involving 4,430 men with ED, of which 2,203 were given Levitra and plotted against the adverse reactions reported by 1199 men who received a placebo, or a neutral substance such as a sugar pill. Overall, headaches were reported by 15 percent of the men taking Levitra as opposed to such reports by 4 percent of those taking the placebo. Flushing was reported by 11 percent of the Levitra takers and runny or stuffed noses were reported 9 percent of the time. The fourth most commonly reported side effect was dyspepsia, better known as indigestion outside the medical profession.
In all cases, those taking the placebo reported these symptoms no more than 4 percent (only for headaches) and more commonly only 1 percent or 2 percent of the time. These results are so detailed that the fifth most commonly reported side effect (3 percent reporting) was listed as “accidental injury,” something that could not be categorized as an adverse drug reaction. (By the way, placebo takers reported accidental injuries 2 percent of the time.)
The other adverse effects reported in the top 10 mostly were more severe incidents of the top three, such as dizziness, sinusitis, and nausea, none reported more than 3 percent of the time. All the testing was done using one of the recommended doses of Levitra, specifically 5 milligrams (mg), 10 mg, or 20 mg.
Also, Levitra should not be taken is someone is taking other forms of medications, such as “nitrites” to relieve chest pain or “alpha blocker” prescribed for high blood pressure. This is true of all the drugs into which class Levitra falls, not just Levitra. Presumably this is because Levitra relaxes blood vessels and might not mix well with other medications dealing with the heart or blood flow.
Any discussion of Levitra side effects needs to mention a condition known as “priapism,” which is potentially quite dangerous. Priapism refers to an erection that lasts for more than four hours. While uncommon, the condition requires immediate attention as it can have damaging effects on the penis, including the ability to have erections in the future. Another uncommon side effect reported was changes in vision, particularly seeing a blue tinge to objects or having difficulty telling the difference between the colors blue and green.
These are not all the reactions associated with taking Levitra.