The first and only erectile dysfunction pill that melts in the mouth is now available in the UK after Bayer launched an orodispersible form of its blockbuster Levitra.

Orodispersible Levitra (vardenafil) may be a particularly attractive option compared with other ED drugs on the market, as it is specifically designed to be discreet and convenient, dissolving on the tongue within seconds, and thus potentially removing some of the embarrassment surrounding the condition.

In addition, the pill comes in a new, thin, black pocket-sized box different to traditional pharmaceutical packaging, that also has various measures to combat counterfeiting, which is a huge problem for this type of medicine, Bayer said. 

"It is hoped that ultimately, the advantages of the new product and its discreet packaging, which includes 120 anti-counterfeiting measures, will reduce the growing numbers of patients purchasing counterfeit pills online and lead to improved patient satisfaction and treatment outcomes in ED overall,” noted Marc van Unen, Business Unit Head General Medicine.

Around 2.3 million men in the UK are thought to suffer from ED, but only 10% receive treatment, highlighting the size of the market legitimate ED drugs have yet to capture. 

Filling the gap?

Bayer will certainly be hoping that its new drug will help to fill much of this void, given that, according to pre-launch market research, four in 10 men regard presently available therapies as inconvenient, and interest in the new formulation was high because of its convenience and product characteristics. 

Orodisperible Levitra was approved in Europe in September last year on the back of two large-scale independent clinical trials assessing the drug's safety and efficacy, which showed that it was statistically significantly superior to placebo on all primary and secondary endpoints. 

The NHS list price for the new form is £17.88 for a pack of 4 x 10mg, while the cost of film-coated, 'normal' Levitra comes in at £14.08 for the same amount (following a 35% price cut in June). But a spokesperson for the firm noted to PharmaTimes UK News that even the new product "comes in less expensive than the other starting does for other drugs in the class".