To understand how Levitra works to treat erectile dysfunction, one must first understand how an erection works in men. An erection happens because there is a buildup of blood in the penis and the veins become collapsed so the blood stays in the penis. There are three muscles in the penis and these contract to compress the veins and trap blood. So, in order to attain and maintain an erection, a male’s muscles of the penis, also known as the corpus cavernosum and corpus spongiosum, must contract so that blood fills the penis and the muscles compress the veins so blood cannot leave the penis.
Is it PDE-5 inhibitor like Viagra?
The mechanism of action of Levitra is by inhibiting an enzyme known as phosphodiesterase-5. This enzyme works by breaking down prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are little molecules that have many effects in the body, one of which being to vasodilate, or relax, smooth muscle. Smooth muscle is muscle that we don’t have conscious control over; our body automatically contracts or relaxes smooth muscle in order to maintain certain physiological functions. Smooth muscle is mostly around arteries, which can then constrict or dilate to control the amount of blood reaching a target. In the penis, when there are many prostaglandins around, they vasodilate the arteries of the penis and more blood flows into the penis. Phosphodiesterase is an enzyme that breaks down prostaglandins to inactive byproducts, thereby eliminating the ability for the prostaglandins to dilate the arteries and therefore decrease the amount of blood flowing to the penis.
Levitra inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase, therefore allowing more blood flow to the penis and making it easier for men to attain and maintain an erection.
Levitra side effects
There are side effects of taking Levitra that the patient should know about before beginning the medication. Because Levitra acts to increase the vasodilation of arteries, it can also act to treat hypertension. Hypertension is when there is too much pressure in the blood system, most commonly from the arteries becoming too stiff to be compliant to the blood flowing through. By inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down prostaglandins, Levitra increases the prostaglandins in the body, thereby allowing for more vasodilation and decreasing the pressure of the blood system. Side effects associated with too high of a dose or too frequently-taken Levitra include symptoms of hypotension, by this same logic.
Some symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, and fainting. Patients should be warned that they should only take Levitra before sexual intercourse, if the reason for the prescription is to treat erectile dysfunction. Taking Levitra too frequently or taking more than prescribed can lead to the previously mentioned side effects.
Another commonly prescribed medication with the same mechanism of action as Levitra is sildenafil, also known as Viagra. Viagra acts in the same way, by inhibiting phosphodiesterase, or the enzyme that breaks down prostaglandins.
In conclusion, Levitra is a medication that is commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction but can also be used to treat hypertension. Levitra acts by inhibiting phosphodiesterase, which normally breaks down prostaglandins. The inhibition of this enzyme allows for prostaglandins to accumulate in the blood, leading to increased vasodilation of the arteries and therefore increased blood flow.