Vardenafil Warnings and Precautions Men Need to Know

Vardenafil (brand name: Levitra) might be used to address erectile dysfunction. While known for its efficacy, this medication comes with warnings and precautions.


Vardenafil is a drug prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction in men. The drug is designed to increase blood flow, helping to stimulate erection and to maintain it. The drug does not increase libido, the desire for sex and is not a cure for erectile dysfunction, but it can enhance a man’s sexual function.

That said, users of the drug should be aware of vardenafil handling precautions. Before taking the drug, be sure you note each vardenafil warning so you can use the drug safely or avoid its use if it’s not the ideal medication for you based on your health or other prescriptions you may be taking. Here, we’ll explore vardenafil warnings and precautions so you can become better acquainted with this medication. 

What Is Vardenafil?

Doctors prescribe vardenafil to treat erectile dysfunction, formerly known as impotence. The drug belongs to a class of medications called phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors. It works by increasing blood flow to the penis as it is stroked. Without physical stimulation, the medication does not cause erection on its own. Vardenafil can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription and is available in tablet or disintegrating tablet form.

How Does Vardenafil Work?

In order to understand how vardenafil works, it’s helpful to know the biology that is involved in penile erection. A penis becomes erect when it is engorged with blood. An increase in blood delivered via the blood vessels increases the penis in size. As this occurs, the blood vessels that carry blood away from the penis actually decrease in size, which supports the erection. 

Before taking vardenafil, be sure to alert your doctor or pharmacist of any allergies you may have.

Sexual stimulation is what causes increased blood flow and engorgement. As the penis becomes engorged with blood, it triggers the release of nitric oxide. In turn, the nitric oxide activates an enzyme known as guanylate cyclase. This enzyme then provides cyclic guanosine monophosphate, generally referred to as cGMP. The primary responsibility of cGMP is to increase and decrease the size of blood vessels involved in carrying blood to and away from the penis. 

Vardenafil works by preventing another enzyme known as phosphodiesterase-5 from destroying the cGMP. The longer the amount of time that cGMP lasts, the longer the penis will remain engorged with blood–erect. 

Read more: Vardenafil Side Effects to Know

What Are the Warnings and Precautions for Vardenafil?

You should never ignore vardenafil warning labels. Users need to be aware of vardenafil precautions and warnings in order to use the drug safely or, if necessary, avoid its use. 

Before You Take Vardenafil

Before taking vardenafil, be sure to alert your doctor or pharmacist of any allergies you may have. If you’re allergic to any of the ingredients in vardenafil, you should not take the medication. Additionally:

  • Do not take vardenafil if you are taking or have recently taken nitrates. If you aren’t sure if the drugs you have taken are classed as nitrates, discuss your medications with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Don’t take vardenafil if you take street drugs called “poppers,” as these are nitrates.
  • Alert your doctor or pharmacist about any herbal supplements you may be taking, especially the herb called St. John’s Wort.
  • Alert your doctor if you have fructose intolerance, as rapidly disintegrating pills are made with sorbitol to sweeten the tablet.

Vardenafil Warnings While Taking the Drug

Once you are prescribed and begin to take vardenafil, be sure to use the medication as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. Additionally:

  • Do not take any new supplements or medications without discussing their use with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Do not drink grapefruit juice when taking this drug; it can increase the risk of side effects.
  • Be aware that vardenafil can produce side effects. Mild effects include heartburn, runny nose, stuffy nose, and upset stomach. 
  • Be aware of serious side effects associated with vardenafil such as blurred vision, erections lasting longer than 4 hours, hives, rash, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, swelling of extremities, chest pain, blurriness or loss of vision. If these symptoms occur, seek emergency medical care.
  • Avoid taking vardenafil with the following medications: Nitroglycerin, Fluconazole, Cisapride, Nelfinavir, Ritonavir, Erythromycin, Clarithromycin, Pimozide, Lefamilin, and Sparfloxacin. This is by no means an exhaustive list of drugs that may cause a negative interaction with vardenafil. Always discuss any medications you’re taking or intend to take with vardenafil. Your pharmacist or doctor may have an additional Vardenafil warning or precaution to alert you of depending on your health and any medications or supplements you’re currently taking. 

Beware of mild and severe side effects of every drug you take before use.

There are also many drugs that may be taken with vardenafil, but your doctor may change the dosage. Taking certain drugs in combination may not be ideal but necessary; in such cases, your physician may want to provide additional monitoring. Some drugs may also heighten the risk for vardenafil side effects. You may continue to take them if directed by your doctor, but you should be prepared for side effects. 

Who Cannot Take Vardenafil?

Vardenafil is not approved for men who are under the age of 18. Anyone allergic to vardenafil or its ingredients should not use the medication. If you take nitrates for a heart condition, you should not take vardenafil. Doctors may avoid prescribing you this medication if you have had the following conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • High blood pressure or low blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Hearing problems
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Blood cell disorders such as leukemia or sickle cell anemia
  • Certain physical deformities
  • Have been told to refrain from sexual intercourse

If your current physician is unaware that your medical history includes any of these conditions, be sure to alert them. It’s important to take every vardenafil warning/vardenafil precaution seriously to avoid an adverse reaction to the drug. 

Knowing vardenafil precautions will allow you to use this drug carefully. Vardenafil is regarded as safe when taken as directed and with these warnings in mind. If the medication does not prove to be effective for you, be sure to tell your doctor. You may require a different treatment/medication.

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