- Vardenafil (Levitra) is a medicine used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED, also called impotence).
- Vardenafil works by helping to relax the blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow more easily and making it easier to get an erection.
- Vardenafil should be taken about 30 minutes before planned sexual activity.
- Vardenafil is a prescription medicine, and not suitable for people with certain medical conditions — always check with your doctor before taking this medicine for the first time.
What is vardenafil (Levitra)?
How does vardenafil work?
Vardenafil works by helping to relax the blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow in more easily. If you have erectile dysfunction, this can make it easier to get an erection.
Vardenafil doesn’t cause erections on its own — sexual stimulation is still needed.
Vardenafil does not:
- cure erectile dysfunction (ED)
- increase your sexual desire
- protect from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- serve as contraception
How do I take vardenafil?
If you plan to use vardenafil, you should take it about 30 minutes before planned sexual activity.
An erection is possible for about 4 hours after taking it — this means the ability to have an erection may last this long, but the actual erections will only last for a normal period of time.
Do not take more than one tablet in 24 hours, and you should not take it while you’re on other ED medicines.
Does vardenafil have side effects?
The most common side effects of vardenafil include:
If you are concerned by any side effects, you should discuss them with your doctor.
Very occasionally, vardenafil can cause a painful erection or an erection that won’t go away (priapism).
If you have an erection that lasts for more than 4 hours, you should go to the nearest hospital emergency department. Prolonged erections can be dangerous.
Who shouldn’t take vardenafil?
Vardenafil may not be safe to take for people with certain medical conditions including:
- a past history of stroke or heart attack in the last 6 months
- heart disease
- retinitis pigmentosa (an eye disease)
It can also interact with many other medicines, particularly nitrates (used in heart disease), amyl nitrite and blood pressure medicines. People who use nitrates in any form or are on treatment for pulmonary hypertension should not take vardenafil.
How can I buy vardenafil?
You need a prescription from a doctor to buy vardenafil. You can buy it from a store-based pharmacy or reputable online pharmacy with a prescription.
Some people buy vardenafil online, often without a prescription. This isn’t a good idea, as you cannot be sure whether these pills contain the medicine or are counterfeit.
FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.
What alternatives can I use for erectile dysfunction?
There are many other treatments for erectile dysfunction.
If you are having problems with your sexual function, see your doctor for a diagnosis and to make sure there’s nothing else going on with your health. Your doctor will discuss the best treatment plan for you.
Resources and support
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: March 2023