Levitra May Interact Badly With Drugs Used to Treat Angina and High Blood Pressure

Drug Interactions

Drug manufacturers want to herald the benefits of the drug. Health advocates want to make sure its side effects are understood. It is up to a doctor or neighborhood pharmacist to make sure the drug does not interfere with other medications.

Possible adverse interactions with other drugs, medications, and treatments for other health conditions is a major factor to consider for any man thinking about getting a prescription for a drug such as Levitra. As with any substance that affects the flow of blood, special care must be taken to ensure that taking the drug does not exacerbate a cardiac or blood pressure problem.

Technical Data

Levitra, like all medications approved for sale in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), first had to be tested through clinical trials to determine what, if any, side effects it might produce in patients. It also had to be studied to see how it would interact with other drugs.

In the case of side effects, it can simply be a matter of tallying complaints reported by those in the study. For instance, if 15 out of every 100 men in the study reported getting headaches after taking the drug, then the FDA gets a report that there is a 15 percent chance of users of the medication having the side effect of a headache.

Determining drug interaction is not so simple. In this case, the FDA would get a report with verbiage like this: “Studies in human liver microsomes showed that vardenafil is metabolized primarily by cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoforms 3A4/5, and to a lesser degree by CYP2C9. Therefore, inhibitors of these enzymes are expected to reduce vardenafil clearance.”

Huh? Actually what that technical jargon might be saying is that vardenafil (the generic name for Levitra) will stay in your system longer if the amount of those named enzymes is reduced by the presence of other drugs. At least, that might be what that passage states. Only your doctor would know for sure.

Nitrates and Alpha Blockers

Specifically, there are two types of drugs that should not be combined with Levitra. Those include nitrate drugs, which are used to control chest pain (or angina), and alpha-blockers, which are prescribed to treat high blood pressure or prostate problems. Combining these medications could cause blood pressure to drop to an unsafe level, according to Levitra’s web site.

Also, the drug’s maker warns against drinking too much alcohol when taking Levitra. Drinking might not cause a serious side effect as with nitrates and alpha blockers, but it well might interfere with the medication working as intended. Under FDA regulations, the drug’s maker must list these and any other interactions the medication might have. A physician is the one most qualified to determine if a patient should take Levitra of any other medication.