Which Levitra dosage is best for me?

The perfect Levitra dose for you is the lowest dose possible which can offer you everything you want from your ED treatment with the least amount of side effects possible.

Which Levitra dosage you’re prescribed will depend on a few things. How your body tolerates Levitra (whether you get any side effects), whether this is your first time trying Levitra, whether you’re taking any medications which may interact with it and whether you have any pre-existing conditions which can up your chances of side effects.


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Medically reviewed by
Dr Daniel Atkinson
GP Clinical lead
on August 02, 2022.
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The active ingredient in Levitra is vardenafil. Levitra comes in doses of 5mg, 10mg or 20mg of vardenafil. If this is your first time on Levitra your prescriber will recommend a dose based on your medical history and whether you’re taking any other medications which may interact with Levitra. It’s always good to be aware of the side effects of any medication you’re taking or thinking about taking.

Normally if you’re healthy, under the age of 75 and you’re not taking medications like nitrate drugs and alpha-blockers (which are known to interact with Levitra), your clinician will prescribe a starting dose of 10mg. If after a few tries you find you’re not reaching your potential in the bedroom, don’t worry. Speak with your prescriber, and they may consider increasing your dose to 20mg if you didn’t experience side effects with the 10mg dose.

Vardenafil 20mg: the max dose

Levitra 20mg is the maximum dose available. When you start ED treatment, it’s unlikely you’ll be prescribed Levitra or Vardenafil 20 mg. Vardenafil is the unbranded version of Levitra, named after the active ingredient in Levitra.

Levitra 20mg is what your doctor may recommend if you’ve tried the 10mg dose a few times, didn’t get the results you’re looking for and didn’t experience side effects. As Levitra 20mg is the maximum dose there is no Levitra or Vardenafil 30mg and you should never take more than one tablet in any 24 hour period.

In clinical trials of 573 men receiving Vardenafil tablets at 20mg, 81% achieved first-time successful penetration and 70% were able to get and maintain an erection. After 4 weeks of treatment, men were able to achieve reliable erections and side effects were mild including headache, flushing and nasal congestion.

Most of us have a preconception that more is better, so a Levitra 20mg tablet would logically offer better erections than a 10mg tablet. This isn’t the case — if you’re able to get an erection on the 10mg dose, a 20mg dose isn’t going to beat that. It will only increase your risk of side effects. This is why your prescriber will start you on 10mg, increasing you to 20mg only if 10mg doesn’t offer you results.

If you’re prescribed 20mg and find you’re experiencing too many side effects, speak with your clinician. This isn’t anything to worry about and is just a case of finding the right treatment for you. If 20mg isn’t working, your prescriber may suggest another type of ED pill or an alternative treatment.

How long does Levitra 20mg take to work?

Between 25 and 60 minutes. If you’ve taken Levitra with or after a heavy meal, it may take longer than the usual 60-minute window to take effect. Once taken, it should stay active in your system for up to five hours. In the same way that Levitra 20mg pills won’t give you longer-lasting, harder erections if you can already achieve an erection with a 10mg dose, a higher dose won’t mean that Levitra works faster.

If you’re prescribed a 5mg dose, perhaps because of a pre-existing medical condition or because you experience side effects with the 10mg dose, and the 5mg dose gets to work within that 25 and 60 minutes window, “upgrading” to a 10mg dose won’t help it “kick in” faster — it will only increase your chance of getting side effects.

If a faster response time is important to you, Staxyn might do the trick. Staxyn tablets are oro-dispersible, meaning they melt on your tongue and therefore absorb slightly differently than regular Levitra. In clinical trials with vardenafil OD (Staxyn), 34.5% of men with ED were able to achieve an erection within 15 minutes and 26% within 30 minutes. Because Staxyn is absorbed differently to regular Levitra it’s important to never mix the two, and remember, one tablet of Staxyn is the max dose per 24 hours.

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Vardenafil 10mg: the starting dose for Levitra

Levitra 10mg is the standard starting dose when beginning treatment. Vardenafil 10mg tablets are the same as Levitra 10mg only they’re the generic equivalent. They will be just as effective as Levitra, but can be slightly cheaper as they’re not a brand-name medication.

The 10mg is the standard, starting dose for good reason: in clinical trials it’s generally the most effective dose of Levitra for the majority of men and is found to have the least amount of side effects.

For example, a 10mg dose of vardenafil works for around 79.8% of men. As far as Levitra 20mg vs 10mg, a 20mg dose is effective for around 80% of men. While there isn’t a great difference between how effective the two doses are, 20mg will carry a greater risk of side effects so it’s only prescribed for men who can’t achieve the results they’re looking for with the 10mg dose.

How long does Levitra 10mg last?

Levitra lasts for four to five hours; this means that during that window of up to 5 hours you should find getting an erection much easier. This is the same for the Levitra 10mg dosage, 20mg dosage and 5mg dosage.

If you take the 10mg dose of Levitra and find that you get an erection and can continue to get an erection for that 4-5 hour window, a higher dose won’t necessarily mean that Levitra’s effect will last longer. What this will do is increase the chances that you will experience unnecessary side effects.

If you find that the 4-5 hour window isn’t long enough, speak with your prescriber. They may suggest swapping to a different ED pill such as Cialis which can offer an effective time of up to 36 hours.

Can you get Levitra oro-dispersible in other doses besides 10mg?

The oro-dispersible version of Levitra and vardenafil, Staxyn, is only available in 10mg tablets. If you’re looking for the most discreet method possible of taking your ED medication, Staxyn may be an option. Taken as needed, 25 to 60 minutes before sex, the oro-dispersible Staxyn has a quick-dissolving formula that melts on your tongue and gets to work a little faster than regular Levitra.

One tablet (10mg) is the maximum dose of Staxyn and there are no other doses available. This means you can only take a maximum of one vardenafil OD tablet per day. If a 10mg dose of vardenafil doesn’t offer you the results you’re looking for, you’ll need to go with regular Levitra which is available at a 20mg dose.

Staxyn is called Levitra OD in the UK. The brand name is the only difference between Levitra OD and Staxyn. Both are taken in the same way, are treated the same in the body and should be equally as effective at treating ED.

Vardenafil 5mg: the low dose

If you experience side effects when taking Levitra or have a pre-existing medical condition that changes how your body metabolizes Levitra, you may be prescribed Levitra or generic Vardenafil 5mg.

This could be your initial starting dose prescribed by your clinician based on your medical history or any other medications you’re taking, or you may start out on a 10mg dose and come down to a 5mg dose after experiencing side effects.

If you’re starting on Levitra (vardenafil) 5mg or your dose is lowered, don’t worry. This will be an effort by your prescriber to minimize any side effects you may experience, not a measure of how effective your ED treatment is.

A 5mg dose is still an effective treatment for ED allowing the majority of men treated (64.9%) to both get an erection and maintain an erection for the duration of sex.

Switching dosages on Levitra

If your health changes or if you’re prescribed a new medication, it’s a good idea to let your prescriber know as soon as possible. This is because certain conditions and medications can interact with Levitra. Letting them know allows them to judge whether your dose should be lowered to minimize the chance of you experiencing any side effects.

Equally, if you start treatment with Levitra at a 10mg dose but find you aren’t able to get an erection or it isn’t working as well as you’d like, let your prescriber know. After a few goes with Levitra both you and your clinician will have a good idea of how your body is responding. For example, if you’re not experiencing side effects on the standard starting dose of 10mg and you aren’t able to get an erection, your clinician may consider increasing your dose to 20mg.

Can I double up on Levitra tablets?

Only if your doctor recommends that you do this. If you’re taking 5mg tablets or 10mg tablets and these aren’t effective enough then talk to your doctor who may advise taking two to see if the higher dose is going to work for you. Do not take more than 20mg Levitra every 24 hours — it isn’t safe and won’t increase how effective Levitra is for you.

The maximum dose of Levitra (Vardenafil) is 20mg and there is no Levitra 40mg dosage available. This is because doses higher than 20mg have a higher risk of side effects, may cause priapism (an erection that lasts for more than 4 hours and requires immediate medical attention) and can dangerously affect blood pressure.

If Levitra doesn’t work for you, your clinician may suggest other ED medications such as Viagra or Cialis. If you generally find that ED pills aren’t helping, talk to your doctor and they may recommend alternative treatments, such as a penis pump or injections.

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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 02, 2024.

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When we present you with stats, data, opinion or a consensus, we’ll tell you where this came from. And we’ll only present data as clinically reliable if it’s come from a reputable source, such as a state or government-funded health body, a peer-reviewed medical journal, or a recognized analytics or data body. Read more in our editorial policy.

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