While it certainly doesn’t get as much attention as Viagra, vardenafil, the active ingredient of Levitra impotence pills certainly achieved just as much success when it comes to helping men get their sex life back on track. Produced and patented by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer Pharmaceuticals, vardenafil is now sold under different trade names with Levitra being the most familiar one to the western markets (other trade names being Staxyn in India and Vivanza in Italy).

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What is Vardenafil?

Vardenafil, the active ingredient in Levitra is yet another substance belonging to the PDE-5 inhibitors group of pharmaceutical compounds. As such, it has a very important advantage of working with the body’s natural mechanisms responsible for gaining and maintaining an erection, yielding it a very high success rate. While in this, it is similar to other competitors on the market, namely, sildenafil-based Viagra and tadalafil-based Cialis, vardenafil is significantly more similar to sildenafil than to others in terms of chemical structure.

The sole difference between vardenafil and sildenafil (sildenafil citrate) the position of a nitrogen atom and the subsequent change of piperazine ring methyl group characteristic to sildenafil to an ethyl group.1 While this doesn’t have effect on the core mechanism of action or the most general properties of the medicine, this difference means that those men who are allergic to sildenafil or tadalafil can, in most cases, safely use vardenafil.

How does it help with ED?

Like all other PDE-5 inhibitors, vardenafil inhibits the PDE-5 enzyme (phosphodiesterase type 5 enzyme), stopping it from degrading the erection-causing substance cGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate). This is important fact since the effectiveness of PDE-5 enzymes relies on them affecting and degrading cGMP. Normally, this process within the human body starts after ejaculation, ending the erection and preventing possible injury to the penis.

How do PDE-5 inhibitors treat ED?

However, in people affected by ED, high levels of PDE-5 are often present, which means they end the erection, prior to ejaculation, causing impotence issues in that way. Vardenafil is perfectly suitable for mitigating this issue.

The effects of vardenafil are localized to cGMP within smooth muscle cells, including those around the blood vessels supplying the corpus cavernosum of the penis. This helps those muscles relax, subsequently widening the blood vessels and allowing for a healthy blood circulation within the penis necessary for gaining and maintaining a strong erection.

At the same time, clinical trials have also shown that vardenafil is moderately effective in preventing premature ejaculation and prolonging intercourse, although, as of now, these effects have not been thoroughly studied nor explained.2

How is Vardenafil used?

As mentioned, vardenafil is sold under several trade names with Levitra being the best-known one. All ED medicines based on vardenafil are available in the form of tablets that are taken with food or water. An exception to this is Levitra Orodispersible – a mint flavoured tablet that dissolves on the tongue leaving a cool, minty aftertaste, making it one of the most discreet impotence pill currently available on the market.

Usually, the tablet containing vardenafil should be taken 30 minutes to an hour prior to sexual activity, with the solvable version being somewhat faster in its onset. After the effects become noticeable, vardenafil we remain active for between five and eight hours, depending on the dosage.

What Vardenafil is not?

Despite its high efficiency, vardenafil cannot simply cause an erection. A sexual stimulus is still necessary for the medicine to have an effect as it will simply remove physiological obstacles to erection. This also means that vardenafil cannot help with emotional or psychological impotence, except as a kind of placebo.

As is clear from this, vardenafil is not an aphrodisiac and it shouldn’t be used as one. This medicine is specialized for treating ED caused by physiological factors and as such, it is also made for the use in men only. The effects of vardenafil on women have not been researched and can be potentially dangerous, but with the mechanism of action that affects erectile function, chances are slim that it could be beneficial to women in any way whatsoever.

What are the side effects?

As with most prescription medications, certain side effects have been identified. The most common of them include:

  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Flushing of the face
  • Dizziness
  • Stuffy nose

Some less common and more serious include abdominal pain, shortness of breath, swelling of the face, mouth and larynx, red and watery eyes, hypertension and low blood pressure. If you experience any of these, it is important to contact the doctor immediately, especially if you notice some of the common symptoms of an allergic reaction. In case of PDE-5 inhibitors, allergic responses are known to be very severe.

Are there some contraindications related to Vardenafil use?

Just like with possible side effects, contraindication are also common for all PDE-5 inhibitors. So, vardenafil should not be used if:

  • You have cardiovascular problems
  • You have liver problems
  • You have kidney problems
  • You have low blood pressure
  • You recently had a stroke or a heart attack
  • You are currently taking nitrates

Can you buy vardenafil online?

For those who may want to obtain vardenafil online, the only way to do so is through an online clinic. And just like with the good old regular doctor appointment, here too you will have to go through a quick consultation with a doctor who will then decide whether vardenafil-based medicine is suitable for you.

If vardenafil treatment is approved, you will be able to obtain some of the medicines that are based on it – Levitra if you live in the EU (except for Italy where the trade name is Vivanza). The exact dosage and type of the medicine will be suggested during the consultations.

Can you buy vardenafil without prescription?

Vardenafil is a prescription-only medicine and can’t be obtained over-the-counter. If you come across someone offering vardenafil without prescription, it is highly advisable to avoid taking it – it can be either illegally obtained medicine or a fake. In both scenarios, you’ll have no reliable information about the expiration date and the exact properties and nature of the pill you’ll take. As of now, the only way to legally and safely buy vardenafil-based ED medicines is with a prescription in a certified pharmacy or online clinic.


  1. Open Chemistry Database – Compound Summary for Vardenafl (CID 110634)
  2. Nature.com – Effects of Vardenafil on Intravaginal Ejaculatory Latency Time