Most people are very familiar with the three dominant erectile dysfunction drugs – Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. But now there are a few additional options that may have advantages for certain patients. One of these newer options is Staxyn, which has been available since 2010 and is marketed jointly by Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Glaxo SmithKline (the pharmaceutical team behind Levitra).
Staxyn contains the same active ingredient as Levitra (vardenfil) but is different in that it dissolves on the tongue. This allows the drug to be taken without water. Additionally, Staxyn has a more rapid onset of action than Levitra, since the drug does not need to work its way through the digestive system before being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Another advantage of Staxyn is that it is packaged in a slim black container about the size of a pack of gum. Tablets are packed into foil blister packs which effortlessly slide out of the container. The container fits easily into a pocket and does not openly advertise what it contains. For men who are embarrassed about taking a medication for erectile dysfunction, this may give the appearance of popping a breath mint or a piece of gum.
It is in a class of drugs known as PDE5 inhibitors, which boost the effect of nitric oxide, a substance that is released during sensory and mental stimulation. Nitric oxide relaxes muscles and opens blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow freely into the spongy tissue. This improved blood flow allows a man to produce and maintain an erection. It is important to realize that Staxyn (just like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra) is not an aphrodisiac. You must feel sexually aroused in order for the drug to develop an erection.
Staxyn should be taken approximately 1 hour before sexual activity. It should be taken immediately after removal from the blister pack and should not be taken with liquid. The tablet should be taken whole and should not be crushed or split.
The duration of effectiveness for Staxyn is approximately 8 hours. This is slightly better than Viagra (which lasts about four to five hours) and Levitra (which lasts about 5 hours), but inferior to Cialis, which has a window of opportunity ranging from 24 to 36 hours.
The side effects of Staxyn are similar to those of the other erectile dysfunction drugs. When the drugs are used properly, most side effects tend to be relatively mild and disappear after a few hours. The most common side effects associated with Staxyn include headache, temporary reddening of the face (flushing), indigestion, runny or stuffy nose (rhinitis), back pain, and dizziness. Uncommonly, Staxyn may cause an abnormally long and painful erection that will not go away (priapism) and vision changes, such as seeing a blue tint on objects or having difficulty distinguishing between the colors blue and green. Other extremely rare but very serious side effects include sudden vision loss in one or both eyes and sudden hearing decrease or hearing loss.
Staxyn (as well as Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis) should not be taken by men who take medicines or recreational drugs containing nitrates. Just like PDE4 inhibitors, nitrate drugs cause muscles to relax and blood vessels to dilate. The combined effects could cause blood vessels to dilate so much that there is a serious drop in blood pressure, resulting in dizziness, fainting, stroke, and heart attack. The most common nitrate medicines are nitroglycerin and isosorbide, both used to treat the symptoms of angina. Nitrates are also contained in party drugs known as “poppers” which are used to stay awake or cause general feelings of pleasure (“rush”).
Men who have had a heart attack or stroke and those with certain medical conditions (e.g., poorly controlled high or low blood pressure, bleeding problems, liver disease, kidney disease or kidney dialysis, severe vision loss, and stomach ulcers) should discuss these conditions with their healthcare provider before taking Staxyn. Sexual activity can put extra strain on the heart, especially when the heart is already weak.
Because Staxyn contains phenylalanine, the drug should not be used by men who have been diagnosed with phenylketonuria, a rare condition in which the body cannot properly break down the amino acid phenylalanine.
Staxyn is available in 10 mg orally disintegrating tablets. Doses should be taken at least 24 hours apart. Staxyn is not interchangeable with vardenafil 10 mg film-coated tablets (Levitra). Patients who require a lower of higher dose of vardenafil should not attempt to split or double up on their medication; instead, they should obtain a prescription for vardenafil film-coated tablets.
Staxyn can be taken with or without food. It can also be taken with moderate consumption of alcohol (up to 3 drinks). However, excessive alcohol consumption can cause side effects such as headaches, dizziness, increased heart rate, and a drop in blood pressure.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice should be avoided while taking Staxyn. Some of the chemicals in grapefruit can affect the absorption of Staxyn, causing the drug to pass more rapidly from the gut to the bloodstream. The high concentration in the blood, while sometimes leading to increased efficacy, can also cause adverse effects such as headaches, flushing, and a drop in blood pressure.
In conclusion, Staxyn is a safe and effective medication with many similarities to Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. Its primary advantage is its ease of use, allowing greater sexual spontaneity. If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, a complete physical examination by your doctor or healthcare provider is essential. In some cases, erectile dysfunction may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Your doctor can determine if any other conditions are involved and help you decide if Staxyn is an appropriate therapy.