levitra For Treating Bph

How vardenafil Helps With Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia


How vardenafil Helps With Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

levitra (vardenafil), an erectile dysfunction medication, can also treat urinary symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate.

Prior to this finding, there were only two options for urination difficulties in those with BPH:

Although alpha blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors are effective for helping with urination, they can have side effects that affect sexual function. Alpha blockers can cause retrograde ejaculation, or when semen enters the bladder and the person may no longer see ejaculate come out anymore; and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors can decrease libido. Some individuals take both medications, which can really dampen their sexual functioning if they are having both side effects.

Since 2011, levitra (vardenafil) has been approved by the FDA for daily use in treatment for men with enlarged prostate, or BPH. It's the same medication as for sexual and erectile dysfunction, but it's just taken daily as a lower dose. This has the potential to make levitra doubly beneficial for both urination and sexual functioning in men with enlarged prostate.

Doctor discussing prostate ultrasound scan with a patient

What Is BPH?

If you have BPH, you probably need no introduction to its inconvenient, annoying and sometimes very serious symptoms. However, for all of us who are uninitiated, here's some info on this condition.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a noncancerous (nonmalignant) enlargement of the prostate gland. In men, the prostate makes part of the male ejaculate, or semen. In men with BPH, the prostate can become significantly larger and cause urinary obstruction. Of note, the prostate is a doughnut-shaped gland that surrounds the urethra or "pee" tube; the prostate sits just below the bladder.

Although prostate cancer can include enlargement and tissue expansion and many of the same initial symptoms as BPH, BPH isn't cancer. It's a benign condition which most men aged 50 or older experience to some degree. Moreover, BPH likely confers no additional risk of developing prostate cancer.

In most men, BPH is asymptomatic and causes no recognizable symptoms. About one-third of American men, however, can experience the following initial symptoms:

Over time, BPH can lead to more serious problems such as urinary tract infections, kidney, and bladder damage. (The obstruction caused by a hyperplastic prostate can cause urine backup which damages the kidney and bladder.)

Initial treatment for BPH is behavior changes, such as decreasing excess caffeine intake. Men with symptomatic BPH typically have the option to start alpha blockers (tamsulosin, terazosin or doxazosin) and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (finasteride or dutasteride).

Although both types of BPH medications contain alpha in their names the mechanisms of these drugs are completely different. Alpha blockers relax smooth muscle in the bladder neck and prostate in order to improve urine flow and relieve urinary obstruction. While alpha blocker medication acts quickly within seven days typically, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors target the hormonal underpinnings of BPH and not only help with urinary flow, but, if taken long enough, can actually shrink the prostate and postpone the need for surgery.

Peak effects with 5-alpha reductase inhibitors take longer to be noticed and are achieved after six months of use. The effects of these two types of medications have a greater effect when used together.

Beyond medication, urologists can offer surgical treatments like prostate resection (remove parts of the prostate), implants (lift and hold the prostate tissue so it no longer blocks the urethra), laser ablation (laser used to remove excess tissue), or steam vaporization (steam used to remove excess tissue). Even these surgeries can have sexual side effects.

Adding levitra to the Mix

For reasons we can all probably appreciate, a big complaint among many men receiving treatment with alpha blockers, 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors or both is that in 5% to 15% of people, such meds mess with erectile function, libido, and ejaculation. To counteract this unwanted adverse effect, urologists and primary care physicians have started adding levitra to the medication mix.

Furthermore, in 2011, the FDA had already approved levitra for treatment of BPH symptoms, too. Thus, in men with BPH, levitra demonstrates double efficacy—it helps with urination, and it helps with erectile dysfunction.

Fortunately, the science supports the practice of adding drugs chiefly aimed at erectile dysfunction to BPH medication regimens. In a huge randomized-control trial sponsored by Eli Lilly, makers of levitra (go figure), 695 men were given either levitra or placebo in addition to the 5-alpha reductase inhibitor finasteride.

Results were very encouraging with statistically significant improvements in sexual desire, orgasmic function, erectile function, and overall sexual satisfaction observed in those taking levitra with finasteride. Moreover, adverse effects were few and tolerable. Results were measured at four, 12, and 26 weeks of therapy using a questionnaire titled the International Index of Erectile Function.

Closing Thoughts

If you or someone you love is experiencing sexual difficulties secondary to BPH medications like finasteride and aren't already on levitra, be sure to discuss it with your primary care physician or urologist. The addition of levitra to your treatment regimen may help with your sex life and symptoms of BPH itself.

On a related note, because of its hormonal effects, lower-dose finasteride is also marketed as Propecia, a drug given for hair loss. Although people who typically take Propecia are younger men with fewer erectile dysfunction issues, and Propecia is lower dose than Proscar, Propecia may also interfere with sexual functioning and possibly male fertility. If you're taking finasteride to prevent hair loss and are experiencing erectile dysfunction, libidinal problems, or fertility issues, be sure to inform your prescribing physician.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Hatzimouratidis K. A review of the use of vardenafil in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia in men with and without erectile dysfunction. Ther Adv Urol. 2014;6(4):135-47. doi:10.1177/1756287214531639
  2. Nimeh T, Magnan B, Almallah YZ. Benign prostatic hyperplasia: review of modern minimally invasive surgical treatments. Semin Intervent Radiol. 2016;33(3):244-50. doi:10.1055/s-0036-1586148
  3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
  4. Glina S, Roehrborn CG, Esen A, et al. Sexual function in men with lower urinary tract symptoms and prostatic enlargement secondary to benign prostatic hyperplasia: results of a 6-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of vardenafil coadministered with finasteride. J Sex Med. 2015;12(1):129-38. doi:10.1111/jsm.12714
  5. Mysore V. Finasteride and sexual side effects. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2012;3(1):62-5. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.93496

By Naveed Saleh, MD, MS
Naveed Saleh, MD, MS, is a medical writer and editor covering new treatments and trending health news.


Peak effects with 5-alpha reductase inhibitors take longer to be noticed and are achieved after six months of use. The effects of these two types of medications have a greater effect when used together.


How vardenafil Helps With Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

levitra (vardenafil), an erectile dysfunction medication, can also treat urinary symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate.

Prior to this finding, there were only two options for urination difficulties in those with BPH:

Although alpha blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors are effective for helping with urination, they can have side effects that affect sexual function. Alpha blockers can cause retrograde ejaculation, or when semen enters the bladder and the person may no longer see ejaculate come out anymore; and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors can decrease libido. Some individuals take both medications, which can really dampen their sexual functioning if they are having both side effects.

Since 2011, levitra (vardenafil) has been approved by the FDA for daily use in treatment for men with enlarged prostate, or BPH. It's the same medication as for sexual and erectile dysfunction, but it's just taken daily as a lower dose. This has the potential to make levitra doubly beneficial for both urination and sexual functioning in men with enlarged prostate.

Doctor discussing prostate ultrasound scan with a patient


In most men, BPH is asymptomatic and causes no recognizable symptoms. About one-third of American men, however, can experience the following initial symptoms:


Adding levitra to the Mix


Furthermore, in 2011, the FDA had already approved levitra for treatment of BPH symptoms, too.




08.07.2022 00:44:06

2022-07-08 00:44:06


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