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Medically reviewed by
Dr Daniel Atkinson
GP Clinical Lead
on August 02, 2022.
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Will I get side effects if I take Levitra?

Levitra is generally considered a low-risk medication. Vardenafil, the active ingredient in Levitra, is a PDE5 inhibitor. PDE5 is an enzyme in the body that causes blood vessels to restrict (narrow). By limiting the activity of PDE5, vardenafil encourages blood vessels to dilate (open up). 

If you have ED, vardenafil allows blood to more easily enter two shaft-like columns of tissue in the penis (when you’re sexually aroused) allowing you to get an erection. However, vardenafil doesn’t just act on the blood vessels in your penis but throughout your body. 

So, most Levitra adverse effects are a result of a change in blood pressure. Vardenafil side effects are not normally something to worry about and will wear off as the body eliminates Levitra from your system after a few hours. 

If you have a history of low blood pressure or are already taking medication to lower your blood pressure, let your prescriber know as in these cases Levitra may not be the best ED treatment for you. 

Broken down into common, uncommon and rare, here are the side effects some men may experience when beginning treatment with Levitra.

What can I do about a headache after taking Levitra?

Whilst most men won’t experience the ‘Levitra headache’ it is still considered a very common side effect – occurring in about 25% of users. It normally happens when beginning treatment and most men find it goes away after the first couple of uses. Levitra isn’t alone in this, with most ED pills initially causing the occasional headache at first.

It happens because PDE5 inhibitors, like vardenafil, the active ingredient in Levitra, encourage your blood vessels to widen, and therefore blood flow changes in the brain. The result is headaches ranging from a mild, dull pain to migraines and cluster headaches. Headaches often begin less than an hour after you take Levitra but can also happen after the medication’s effects have worn off, potentially affecting sleep.

It’s possible to treat headaches from Levitra, limiting their intensity and how long they last. A few ways to avoid ‘Levitra headache’ include staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol, and eating a small meal or snack with your medication. If you frequently experience headaches after taking Levitra, your doctor might suggest paracetamol, which won’t interact with Levitra, and will be safe to use at the recommended dose.

If you experience bad headaches or migraines and feel as though they’re just not tolerable, or they’re negatively affecting your overall sexual experience, ask your prescriber about lowering your dose as data shows that headaches are linked to higher doses.

  • Common side effects

  • Uncommon side effects

  • Rare side effects

Common Levitra side effects may affect up to 1 in 10 people and include:

  • Dizziness
  • Flushing
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Indigestion

Uncommon side effects may affect up to 1 in 100 people. These include:

  • Swollen face, lips or throat
  • Disrupted sleeping pattern
  • Numbness
  • Sleepiness
  • Changes to colour perception and light sensitivity
  • Eye pain
  • Ringing in the ears and vertigo
  • Pounding heart and increased heart rate
  • Breathlessness
  • Stuffy nose
  • Acid reflux
  • Gastritis (an inflamed stomach lining)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Raised levels of liver enzymes in your blood
  • Rash
  • Back or muscle pain 
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Prolonged erections
  • Malaise (a general feeling of discomfort or illness)

Rare side effects may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people, and include:

  • Conjunctivitis - Inflammation of the eyes
  • Allergic reaction
  • Anxiety
  • Fainting
  • Amnesia
  • Seizure
  • Glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye) 
  • Tears (watery eyes)
  • Heart attack or altered heartbeat
  • Angina (chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart)
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Nose bleed
  • Effect on results of blood tests to check liver function
  • Sensitivity of the skin to sunlight
  • Painful erections
  • Chest pain
  • Temporarily decreased blood flow to parts of the brain

What should I do if I get side effects on Levitra?

Let your prescriber know if you experience any side effects when taking Levitra, they will be able to discuss them with you in detail. Together you and your clinician will be able to evaluate whether you should continue with your prescription, lower your dose of Levitra, or change medication. 

Many men with ED find that milder side effects will go away after several goes with Levitra. This is because your body can become less sensitive over time. However, if you experience side effects such as chest pain, altered heartbeat, seizures, swelling, breathlessness or an erection that lasts more than four hours (priapism) – these require immediate medical attention and you should go to hospital right away. 

Can I lower my risk of side effects on Levitra?

Once you receive your prescription, remember to read the patient information leaflet. Yes, it’s long and you may feel you’ve read up on everything there is to know, but the leaflet will give you instructions on how best to take Levitra, and it’s good to have it in front of you in black and white. 

If you’re not taking any other medications which are known to interact with Levitra the main thing to avoid will be grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice can enhance the effects of Levitra, increasing the chance of side effects, and so it’s a good idea to avoid it.

Man in brown top reading a journal outside whilst holding his glasses in concentration

Levitra warnings: What you need to know

The first step you can take to keep your risk of side effects as low as possible will be at your initial consultation. Ensure you give your prescriber your full medical history including any medication you take or medical conditions you may have. 

Some medication and medical conditions will mean that Levitra isn’t the best ED treatment for you, your clinician will know what these are. Giving them all the information you can allows them to make the best decision for you and will lower the chance of you experiencing any side effects from your treatment. 

If you do experience side effects after you begin treatment, let your doctor know, they may consider lowering your dose or switching you to a different ED medication.

Which medications can cause Levitra interactions?

Levitra, or vardenafil, the active ingredient in Levitra, may interact with nitrate drugs, antihypertensives and alpha-blockers, which lower blood pressure. It’s important to let your prescriber know at your initial consultation if you take any of these medications as it may mean that Levitra isn’t the best option for you.

Other vardenafil interactions include antidepressants, antibiotics, antifungals, medications for a prostate disorder, and HIV/AIDS medicine. Again let your prescriber know if you take any of these before beginning treatment with Levitra and let them know if you start taking them once you’ve already begun treatment. 

I have pre-existing conditions. Can I still use Levitra? 

There are a few pre-existing conditions which may mean your doctor will need to closely monitor your progress when being treated with Levitra. Or they may indicate a lower dosage starting point, these include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Inherited heart diseases
  • Peyronie’s disease (where the penis is curved) 
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Leukaemia
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Bleeding disorder (such as haemophilia)

If any of the following applies to you it may be that you cannot take Levitra and you must tell your prescriber at your consultation:

  • Severe heart or liver problems
  • If you are having kidney dialysis
  • If you’ve recently had a stroke 
  • If you’ve recently had a heart attack
  • If you have low blood pressure
  • If you have a family history of degenerative eye diseases
  • If you’ve ever had a condition involving loss of vision 

Who shouldn’t use Levitra? 

If you’re allergic to vardenafil or any other ingredients contained in Levitra you shouldn’t use it. Signs of an allergic reaction include a rash, itching, swollen face, swollen lips and shortness of breath, so if you experience any of these let your doctor know immediately.

Levitra is not approved for men under 18 years old and may also not be suitable for men over 75 years old, your clinician will be able to judge if Levitra is suitable for you. If you take any medications that may interact with vardenafil, such as nitrate drugs for chest pain, then it’s important to let your prescriber know as these taken with Levitra can dangerously affect blood pressure. Again, it may be the case that you shouldn’t use Levitra and another ED treatment will be more suitable.  

Levitra atrial fibrillation is when the heart rate is irregular and often abnormally fast after treatment with vardenafil. It’s a rare condition with only a handful of case studies and normally occurs in healthy men with no history of erectile dysfunction who have taken Levitra. So if you don’t have ED, you should not take Levitra.

What if my health changes when I’m taking Levitra?

Let your clinician know. If you’re prescribed a new medication that you weren’t taking when you first started with Levitra it may interact with it. Equally, if your health changes, discuss this with them too.

Your prescriber will be able to judge whether Levitra is still right for you, whether lowering your dose may be an option or whether a different ED treatment would be better. 

Get the expert Levitra knowledge you need with Treated

With Treated you can take our online consultation to find out if Levitra is the best ED treatment for you. Based on your medical profile, which will include questions about your medical history and current health, one of our registered clinicians will be able to recommend a few options. 

From here, you choose the treatment plan you think will work best for your lifestyle, choose the subscription you want, buy your medication online and get your treatment shipped to your door. You can change, pause or cancel your plan at any time. 

If you’d like to know more about Levitra before taking a consultation, you should be able to find just about everything you need in our Levitra guide.

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This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.

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