What is Levitra?
Levitra® is a drug that is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED). It comes in four doses, 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg. The 10 mg dose is the most common starting dose, although some people may benefit from higher or lower doses. Levitra® is part of a “family” of medicines used to treat ED called phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE5i). Other drugs in this family include Cialis (tadalafil), Viagra (sildenafil), and Stendra (avanafil). All of these drugs have the same mechanism of action, but there are subtle differences that may cause your doctor to recommend one drug out of the others based on your preferences and treatment goals.
How Long Does Levitra Last?
Levitra® is a short acting drug with an average half-life of 4–5 hours, which means that half the medicine is gone from the body after 4–5 hours in healthy people. Levitra is effective for up to 8 hours. The time that it takes to eliminate Levitra® may be prolonged in older people and people with liver or kidney disease meaning the drug may work longer in these people.
Levitra vs. Viagra
Levitra® functions very similarly to Viagra® with a few key differences. Levitra® comes in doses of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg, while Viagra® comes in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg doses. The most common starting dose for Viagra® is 50 mg, and the most common dose for Levitra® is 10 mg. The use of Levitra® increases the likelihood of QT prolongation (a change seen on an EKG), which can sometimes be followed by irregular heartbeats. In rare cases, QT prolongation can cause dangerous abnormal heart rhythms that can even be fatal. Also, Levitra® does not cause the bluish visual tint sometimes caused by Viagra®. This is because unlike Viagra®, Levitra® does not inhibit PDE6, which is found in the retina and can cause visual color changes when blocked or inhibited. It’s also important to note that side effects are very individual, and someone who has side effects with one drug may not have them with the other. Talk to your doctor about the risks and possible side effects before you begin taking Levitra or Viagra.
Levitra® Dosage: Is Higher Always Better?
Some people think that higher is always better when it comes to ED medication and may even take more than the highest FDA-approved dose of Levitra®, which is 20 mg. Levitra® has been studied in doses higher than 20 mg, including 40 mg twice daily. The reason the maximum FDA-approved dose of Levitra® is 20 mg is because above that dosage there is very little increase in benefit with a much higher risk of side effects. Even within the FDA-approved doses, there is only an additional response in about 5% of men when going from 10 mg to 20 mg.
How Can I Make Levitra More Effective?
The most important things to do to maximize effectiveness of Levitra® is to take it properly, as prescribed. This means it should not be taken with a high fat meal. Taking Levitra® with a high fat meal delays absorption by about 1 hour and also decreases the maximum blood level. This effect of delayed absorption was not shown with a meal that was lower in fat.
It’s also important to take Levitra® at the correct time. It should be taken 30–60 minutes before sexual activity. The effects of Levitra typically last for a maximum of about 8 hours, although its strongest effects are within the first 4 hours.
It is also recommended to not mix Levitra® with alcohol. Levitra® should not be taken more than once every 24 hours, and you should never mix Levitra® with other ED medications.