Levitra is used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence) and works by relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow in the body. It is classified as a PDE5 inhibitor and is co-manufactured by Bayer AG and GlaxoSmithKline.

Levitra and other drugs in its class have been associated to serious side effects. In 2005, the FDA issued a warning informing doctors and patients about non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) as a risk associated with PDE5 inhibitors.

NAION starts to affect Levitra users within 36 hours of taking the drug. This condition happens when vision loss occurs to damage to the optic nerve from a lack of blood supply. Patients suffering from NAION describe dark shadows or poor vision in one eye.

In addition to NAION risks, Levitra has also been linked to hearing loss in patients. In 2007, the FDA received reports of sudden hearing loss after taking in erectile dysfunction medications.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Sudden vision loss
  • Ringing in your ears, or sudden hearing loss
  • Chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vision changes
  • Feeling light-headed, fainting
  • Penis erection that is painful or lasts four hours or longer
  • Seizures (convulsions)

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, or chest
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Back pain
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