Why is this medication prescribed?
Vardenafil is used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence; inability to get or keep an erection) in men. Vardenafil is in a class of medications called phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. It works by increasing blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. This increased blood flow can cause an erection. Vardenafil does not cure erectile dysfunction or increase sexual desire. Vardenafil does not prevent pregnancy or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
How should this medicine be used?
Vardenafil comes as a tablet and a rapidly disintegrating (dissolves in the mouth and is swallowed without water) tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken as needed, with or without food, 60 minutes before sexual activity. Vardenafil usually should not be taken more often than once every 24 hours. If you have certain health conditions or are taking certain medications, your doctor may tell you to take vardenafil less often. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take vardenafil exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
If you are taking the rapidly disintegrating tablet, check the blister pack before you take your first dose. Do not use any of the medication from the pack if any of the blisters are torn, broken, or do not contain tablets. Follow the package directions to remove the tablet from the blister package. Do not try to push the tablet through the foil. After you remove the tablet from the blister package, immediately place it on your tongue and close your mouth. The tablet will quickly dissolve. Do not take the rapidly disintegrating tablet with water or other liquids.
Your doctor will probably start you on an average dose of vardenafil tablets and increase or decrease your dose depending on your response to the medication. If you are taking the rapidly disintegrating tablets, your doctor will not be able to adjust your dose because the rapidly disintegrating tablets are only available in one strength. If you need a higher or lower dose, your doctor may prescribe the regular tablets instead. Tell your doctor if vardenafil is not working well or if you are experiencing side effects.
Vardenafil rapidly disintegrating tablets cannot be substituted for vardenafil tablets. Be sure that you receive only the type of vardenafil that was prescribed by your doctor. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about the type of vardenafil you were given.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking vardenafil
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to vardenafil,any other medications. or any of the ingredients in vardenafil tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- do not take vardenafil if you are taking or have recently taken riociguat (Adempas) or nitrates such as isosorbide dinitrate (Dilatrate-SR, Isordil, in BiDil), isosorbide mononitrate (Monoket), and nitroglycerin (Minitran, Nitro-Dur, Nitromist, Nitrostat, others). Nitrates come as tablets, sublingual (under the tongue) tablets, sprays, patches, pastes, and ointments. Ask your doctor if you are not sure if any of your medications contain nitrates.
- do not take street drugs containing nitrates such as amyl nitrate and butyl nitrate (‘poppers’) while taking vardenafil.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: alpha blockers such as alfuzosin (Uroxatral), doxazosin (Cardura), prazosin (Minipress), tamsulosin (Flomax, in Jalyn), and terazosin; amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone); antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox), and ketoconazole (Nizoral); clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac); disopyramide (Norpace); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); haloperidol (Haldol); HIV protease inhibitors including atazanavir (Reyataz, in Evotaz), indinavir (Crixivan), ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra), and saquinavir (Invirase); medications for high blood pressure or irregular heartbeat; other medications or treatments for erectile dysfunction; methadone (Dolophine, Methadose); moxifloxacin (Avelox); pimozide (Orap); procainamide; quinidine (in Nuedexta); sotalol (Betapace, Sorine, Sotylize); thioridazine; and verapamil (Calan, Covera, Verelan, others). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may interact with vardenafil, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John’s wort.
- tell your doctor if you smoke and if you have ever had an erection that lasted more than 4 hours. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a condition that affects the shape of the penis, such as angulation, cavernosal fibrosis, or Peyronie’s disease; diabetes; high cholesterol; high or low blood pressure; irregular heartbeat; a heart attack; angina (chest pain); a stroke; ulcers in the stomach or intestine; a bleeding disorder; blood cell problems such as sickle cell anemia (a disease of the red blood cells), multiple myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells), or leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells); seizures; and liver, kidney, or heart disease. Also tell your doctor if you or any of your family members have or have ever had long QT syndrome (a heart condition) or retinitis pigmentosus (an eye disease) or if you have ever had severe vision loss, especially if you were told that the vision loss was caused by a blockage of blood flow to the nerves that help you see. Tell your doctor if you have ever been advised by a health care professional to avoid sexual activity for medical reasons.
- you should know that vardenafil is only for use in males. Women should not take vardenafil, especially if they are or could become pregnant or are breast-feeding. If a pregnant woman takes vardenafil, she should call her doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery or any dental procedure, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking vardenafil.
- you should know that sexual activity may be a strain on your heart, especially if you have heart disease. If you have chest pain during sexual activity, call your doctor immediately and avoid sexual activity until your doctor tells you otherwise.
- tell all your health care providers that you are taking vardenafil. If you ever need emergency medical treatment for a heart problem, the health care providers who treat you will need to know when you last took vardenafil.
- if you have phenylketonuria (PKU, an inherited condition in which a special diet must be followed to prevent mental retardation), you should know that the rapidly disintegrating tablets are sweetened with aspartame, a source of phenylalanine.
- if you have fructose intolerance (an inherited condition in which the body lacks the protein needed to break down fructose,[a fruit sugar found in certain sweeteners such as sorbitol]), you should know that the the rapidly disintegrating tablets are sweetened with sorbitol. Tell your doctor if you have fructose intolerance.