Vardenafil belongs to a group of medicines that delay the action of enzymes called phosphodiesterases that can interfere with erectile function. Vardenafil is used to treat men with erectile dysfunction (also called sexual impotence) because it helps to maintain an erection that is produced when the penis is stroked. Without physical stimulation of the penis, sildenafil will not work to cause an erection. Vardenafil is not indicated for use in women.
Vardenafil does not directly cause an erection of the penis, but it alters the body’s response to sexual stimulation by enhancing the effect of the nitric oxide, a chemical that is normally released during stimulation. Nitric oxide causes relaxation of the muscles in the penis, which allows for better blood flow to the penile area. This medication does not cure impotency, increase a man’s sexual desire, protect from sexually transmitted diseases, or serve as birth control. It only helps maintain an erection when a man is sexually excited.
Penile erection is caused by the engorgement of the penis with blood. This engorgement occurs when the blood vessels delivering blood to the penis increase in size and increase the delivery of blood to the penis. At the same time, the blood vessels carrying blood away from the penis decrease in size and decrease the removal of blood from the penis. Sexual stimulation that leads to the engorgement and erection causes the production and release of nitric oxide in the penis. Nitric oxide then activates the enzyme, guanylate cyclase to produce cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). The cGMP is primarily responsible for increasing and decreasing the size of the blood vessels carrying blood to and from the penis, respectively. Vardenafil prevents an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-5 from destroying cGMP so that cGMP persists longer.
Vardenafil is used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence; inability to get or keep an erection) in men. Vardenafil is in a class of medications called phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. It works by increasing blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. Vardenafil does not cure erectile dysfunction or increase sexual desire. Vardenafil does not prevent pregnancy or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).