Levitra and the generic version of this treatment, vardenafil, are known to be well tolerated by those that use them, but as is the case with any medication, the risk of side effects still exists. In very rare cases, these might be serious and require immediate medical attention, so it is important that you fully understand the possibility of negative reactions from these medications.

The recent developments in treatments for erectile dysfunction, going back to the breakthrough of Viagra in the late 1990s, have meant that there are many options available for those with the condition, all of which provide little to no issues with toleration while providing great benefits. You should, therefore, be able to use these drugs with the assurance that they’re safe to take. But it’s important to let your prescriber know about any medical conditions you have, or other treatments you’re taking, when having a consultation about ED treatment.

Levitra in clinical trials

When Levitra was released on to the market in 2003, the same year as Cialis, it became known as an alternative to sildenafil, known as Viagra. All three medications belong to a group known as PDE-5 inhibitors, which means they work in the same way. But they don’t produce exactly the same effects in everyone, and some people find that certain medicines cause more side effects for them.

It was immediately clear that these treatments were effective during trials, as multiple studies have suggested, but how well tolerated the medications were required further investigation. While it is not possible to guarantee that everyone will have the same experience with each of these treatments, the side effects when they did occur, such as visual disturbances, were mild and subsided quickly. In short, the medication has been proven as well-tolerated in the vast majority of users.

The frequency of Levitra side effects

As well as your doctor being able to inform you of any side effects and their risks before prescribing the treatment, this information is also available in the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication.

In the very rare cases that any of the following symptoms occur, you should discontinue use and seek immediate medical attention: partial, sudden, temporary or permanent decrease or loss of vision in one or both eyes, sudden decrease or loss of hearing fast or altered heart beat, heart attack, chest pain, temporarily decreased blood flow to parts of the brain, bleeding in the brain.

It should be noted that the vast majority of these symptoms were experienced by men that had heart problems before starting treatment and it cannot be confirmed that Levitra or vardenafil was their cause.

Other side effects include:

Very common - can affect over 1 in 10 users: headaches

Common - can affect up to 1 in 10 users: dizziness, flushing, congested sinuses and digestive issues.

Uncommon - can affect up to 1 in 100 users: swelling of the skin, swelling of the mucous tissue, swollen face, lips or throat, sleep disorders, numbness, impaired perception of touch, sleepiness, affected vision, reddened eyes, effects on colour vision, eye pain, light sensitivity, tinnitus, vertigo, fast heartbeat, pounding heart, breathlessness, acid reflux, gastritis, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, dry mouth, raised enzymes levels, rashes, muscle pain, increase in blood of a muscle enzyme, muscle stiffness, prolonged erections and malaise.

Rare - can affect up to 1 in 1,000 users: inflamed eyes, allergic reactions, nervousness, collapsing, forgetfulness, fits, glaucoma, teary eyes, heart attacks, altered heartbeat, angina, altered blood pressure, nose bleeds, affected liver function blood tests, sensitivity to sunlight, painful erections, chest pains and a decrease of blood flow to the brain.

Very rare or not known - can affect less than 1 in 10,000 users: blood in the urine, bleeding from the penis, blood in semen, bleeding in the brain and death.

How to minimise the risk of Levitra side effects

There are some things you can do to minimise the risk of side effects occurring, the most important being following your doctor’s directions. In particular, do not exceed the stated dosage, even if you are not getting the benefits you were expecting from the medication. Your doctor can always increase the dosage, or prescribe another treatment, if required.

Taking the medication between 25 minutes and one hour before sexual activity will help to maximise its effects and taking it with an empty stomach, or at least avoiding heavy and fatty meals before treatment, will also help. You should not take more than one dosage of Levitra or vardenafil within a 24-hour period.

If you are experiencing side effects at the start of treatment, your doctor may simply prescribe a lower dosage. Other PDE-5 treatments, such as Cialis, might also create less side effects, despite producing the same effect on the body. There are also other forms of erectile dysfunction treatments that might be better tolerated, such as a prostaglandin e1 (PGE1), which is the main ingredient in Caverject.

Reporting Levitra side effects

If you do experience any side effects from your treatment you should inform your doctor, who will be able to adjust your medication accordingly. You can also report these symptoms to the MHRA’s (medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency) Yellow Card Scheme. This website helps to track side effects and issues with all medications in order to provide safer treatments for everyone. The scheme also records data regarding herbal supplements, counterfeit medications and issues with medical devices.

Page last reviewed:  24/07/2020