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Levitra and Alcohol: What You Need to Know

<p>Levitra and Alcohol: What You Need to Know</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 6 min read

Alcohol can relax us and put us in great discomfort, making it a formidable ally and enemy. No matter what impact it may have on our bodies, we consume it anyway, and like sugary foods, it can be impossible to completely eliminate consumption from our lives. So, professionally approved limitations are in place to ensure we don't cause our bodies harm. These limitations transition through several circumstances and are most apt when consuming alcohol with medication such as Levitra. Levitra is an erectile dysfunction treatment that is quite flexible. It can be used independently or in combination with other treatments. But can it be used with alcohol?

In this article, we delve into just that and more:

Levitra Overview 

  • Onset of action timeframe (how long it takes to work): 30-60 minutes

  • Durational effects timeframe (how long its effects last): 4-6 hours

Levitra was introduced into the medical market in 2003 as a phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor. This was around the same time Cialis was released. Levitra  treats erection problems by working with a chain of reactions in the penis. It minimizes the frequency and intensity of erectile dysfunction (ED) symptoms to effectively treat the condition. 

The medication contains vardenafil, a potent active ingredient that naturally supports the formation of a rigid erection. Compared to other ED treatments on the market, which can be quite overpowering and strong, Levitra is mild, however, this doesn't take away from its effectiveness. 

Evidence from a PubMed study shows that the treatment is well tolerated among a wide range of users, especially those with sensitive systems. Levitra also effectively improved key aspects of sexual function, including erections. The trial concluded that 90% of the patients achieved improved erections with the administration of the treatment.

Levitra and Alcohol: The Basics

When we think of alcohol and medication, the assumption straight off the bat is that they can't be used together at all. This is because the adverse effects linked to the combination are quite publicized on many platforms. The truth is that some medicines can still be taken if there is alcohol in their system, but this comes with a moderate consumption stipulation that varies from medication to medication. 

In this case, we are focusing on Levitra use with alcohol. A PubMed study that focused on the  combination confirmed that alcohol can be consumed with Levitra. The evidence shows that the combination is well tolerated, with no clinically relevant interactions detected. The precise definition of 'limited' volume of alcohol can differ from person to person as we all have different body compositions. 

But it's usually set according to the CDC's Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol, which recommends that men have a maximum of two drinks a day (for example, two cans of beer or glasses of wine). If you decide to drink while taking Levitra, we suggest consuming the two drinks gradually rather than chugging them down and spacing Levitra administration away from consumption.

How Do Levitra and Excessive Alcohol Affect the Body?

Levitra and alcohol, of course, come from two very different backgrounds in terms of composition; however, they act similarly once they enter the bloodstream. Levitra is a PDE5 inhibitor, which stops the PDE5 enzyme from doing its job—supporting a sustained erection. The PDE5 enzyme is basically responsible for disabling erections. In addition to this, it accelerates blood flow to the penis and widens and relaxes blood vessels so the penis can fill up with blood faster for a better erectile response. 

Alcohol does the same once consumed, it relaxes and widens blood vessels which allows blood to flow at a faster pace. However, it can work in the opposite way if alcohol levels go beyond a certain peak. If too much alcohol is consumed, blood vessels shrink, causing blood pressure spikes. This leads to limp or inconsistent erections. 

Excessive alcohol consumption also affects how the brain communicates feelings of stimulation, causing delayed or no erectile response. In addition, it increases the urge to urinate, eventually leading to mild dehydration. This decreases blood volume and flow to the penis, which causes blood pressure issues and subsequent erection issues. The combined effects of Levitra and excessive alcohol leads to a mirage of effects that do not support the formation of a rigid erection.

Potential Side Effects of Using Levitra With Alcohol

We've confirmed that consuming small amounts of alcohol with Levitra is harmless, and as long as alcohol intake is limited, safety parameters revolving around Levitra use are quite solid. The safety profile of the treatment only starts to deteriorate when alcohol consumption guidelines are not followed. So, if consumed in excess, alcohol can induce undesirable effects or accelerate the frequency and intensity of normal side effects linked to itself or Levitra independently. The occurrence of any of these side effects can hinder the possibility of successful treatment outcomes and possibly make the symptoms linked to ED worse. 

Let's look at common side effects linked to each one of these products (alcohol and Levitra separately) and specific side effects that come with the combination (alcohol and Levitra together):

Common side effects that may occur with Levitra use include:

  • Diarrhea 

  • Headache

  • Heartburn

  • Muscle aches

  • Facial flushing

  • Numbness in legs, feet, arms, or hands

  • Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep) 

  • Changes in color vision or increased sensitivity to light

Common side effects associated with alcohol use:

  • Slurred speech

  • Memory lapses 

  • Slowed breathing

  • Vision impairment 

  • Lack of coordination 

  • Extreme shifts in mood

Excessive alcohol use can increase the possibility of experiencing Levitra or alcohol side effects while intensifying the disposition of each. It can also drag symptoms out for longer, causing harm to the body, mind, and condition.  

Side Effects Linked to Combined Levitra and Alcohol Use

As we mentioned earlier, large amounts of alcohol combined with Levitra can drastically shift blood pressure either up or down depending on the volume of alcohol consumed. The shift in blood pressure can result in users experiencing side effects which are much worse than the common adverse effects linked to Levitra use or alcohol consumption alone

Below we list side effects that occur as a result of mixing excessive alcohol and Levitra:

  • Anxiety

  • Seizures

  • Dizziness

  • Confusion

  • Chest pain

  • Headaches

  • Blurred vision

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Severe Nausea and vomiting

  • Unresponsiveness (not responding to stimulation)

These side effects have a severe disposition which means they have a huge impact on the body and can increase the possibility of health risks.

Other Potential Risks to be Noted When Using Levitra 

Unlike some ED treatments on the market, which have wavering safety and efficacy profiles when used in combination treatment plans, Levitra has quite a solid one. Levitra can be safely used with other treatments without losing its safety and efficacy status. However, there are some limitations to this. Levitra use is prohibited with certain medicines (interactions) and with certain conditions (contraindications). Below we list these interactions and contraindications. 

Interactions include:

  • Any treatments intended to treat ED (herbal and pharmaceutical). This includes medications such as tadalafil, vardenafil, panax ginseng, and rhodiola rosea

  • Blood pressure medications, which include ACE inhibitors, amlodipine besylate, and calcium channel blockers. This combination can lead to a drastic drop in blood pressure

  • Nitrates, which are used to treat and prevent heart pain or chest pain caused by heart disease 

  • Alpha-blockers are commonly used to treat blood pressure and prostate problems in men 

  • HIV/AIDS combination treatments, such as integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) and entry inhibitors

  • Guanylate cyclase stimulators such as riociguat, which are used to treat heart failure and PAH

Contraindications include:

  • Stomach ulcers 

  • Heart failure 

  • Heart disease 

  • History of or smoking

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Angina (severe chest pain)

  • Retinal disorders (eye problems)

  • Stroke, within the last six months

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Hyperlipidemia (high fats in the blood) 

  • Heart attack within the last six months

  • Bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia

  • Kidney and liver disease- should be used with caution

  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) within the last six months

Levitra can not be used with any of the above treatments or conditions. Doing this can lead to undesirable effects that will not only delay the treatment of ED but also cause overall health issues. 

The Takeaway 

Alcohol has an interesting relationship with erectile dysfunction. It can help limit associated symptoms like performance anxiety and increase sexual desire, which of course, helps create better sexual experiences. Combined with Levitra, this can be quite beneficial however, it should not be done often and should never exceed the 2-drink minimum. A Sexual Medicine study evaluating the combination of alcohol with PDE5 inhibitors such as Levitra showed that controlled consumption of alcohol is safe. The evidence showed that approximately 84% of the patients who consumed alcohol with the treatment did not report or notice any negative effects or changes. However, the combined ingestion does increase the risk of PDE5-associated complications. This is why moderate use must be enforced.


5 Sources

Nu Image Medical has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.