Generic Name: alprostadil (al-PROS-ta-dil)
Brand Name: Examples include Caverject and Caverject Impulse
Alprostadil is used for:
Treating erectile problems in men. It may also be used to help diagnose erectile dysfunction.
Alprostadil is a prostaglandin (PGE-1). It works by relaxing certain muscles in the penis and widening blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the penis and helps to cause an erection. When the effect of the alprostadil wears off, blood flow returns to normal and the erection disappears.
Do NOT use alprostadil if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in alprostadil
- you have blood problems (eg, sickle cell anemia or sickle cell trait, leukemia), bone marrow problems (eg, multiple myeloma), or other conditions that may increase your risk for a prolonged, painful erection (priapism)
- you have a penile implant, deformed penis, or certain other penile problems (eg, Peyronie disease, fibrosis of the penis)
- you have any other physical reason that you should not have sexual intercourse
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using alprostadil:
Tell your health care provider if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have inflammation or infection of the penis, kidney problems, urinary problems (eg, inflammation or narrowing of the urethra), or a history of prolonged or painful erections
- if you use other medicine for erectile problems
- if you have a blood-borne disease (eg, HIV, hepatitis)
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with alprostadil. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) or heparin because the risk of bleeding may be increased
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if alprostadil may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use alprostadil:
Use alprostadil as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- An extra patient leaflet is available with alprostadil. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
- Alprostadil is injected into the penis to produce an erection. A health care provider will teach you how to prepare and use alprostadil. Be sure you understand how to use alprostadil. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- Do not use alprostadil if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the cartridge is cracked or damaged.
- Use alprostadil within 24 hours after mixing.
- If the needle breaks during the injection, grasp and remove the broken end if possible and contact your doctor. Contact your doctor right away if the needle breaks and you cannot remove it.
- Use each vial or cartridge one time only. Do not reuse any medicine left in the container.
- Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
- Alprostadil usually starts to work within 5 to 20 minutes after you inject it and lasts about 30 to 60 minutes.
- Do not use more than one dose of alprostadil in a 24-hour period or more than 3 doses per week without first checking with your doctor.
- If you forget to use alprostadil and you still intend to engage in sexual activity, use it as soon as you remember or as directed by your doctor.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use alprostadil.
Important safety information:
- Alprostadil may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use alprostadil with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Do NOT use more than the recommended dose or change your dose without checking with your doctor.
- Seek medical attention if you experience a painful erection or have an erection that lasts for more than 4 hours (priapism). If this is not treated right away, it could lead to permanent sexual problems such as impotence. Contact your doctor right away if this happens.
- Alprostadil does not protect against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (eg, HIV) or blood-borne diseases (eg, hepatitis B). Use barrier methods of birth control (eg, condoms) if you have an STD or blood-borne disease.
- If your partner experiences vaginal dryness or painful vaginal sensations, talk with your doctor. It might be necessary to use a water-based lubricant during sexual intercourse.
- You will need to have regular check-ups with your doctor while you are using alprostadil. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use alprostadil with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- PREGNANCY AND BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if alprostadil can cause harm to the fetus. It is not known if alprostadil if found in breast milk. Alprostadil is not approved for use in women.
Possible side effects of alprostadil:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Mild bleeding at the injection site; mild to moderate genital pain.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); abnormal ejaculation; bleeding from the tip of the penis; bloody urine or change in the amount of urine; chest pain; curving of the erect penis; dizziness; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; new or worsening genital pain; painful or prolonged erection; redness, lumps, swelling, tenderness, inflammation, numbness, strange sensation, or discoloration of the penis; severe or persistent bleeding or bruising at the injection site; severe or persistent pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; swelling of the leg veins; white patches or discharge from the penis.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include fainting; lasting pain in the penis; lightheadedness; painful or prolonged erection (eg, erection lasting more than 4 hours).Proper storage of alprostadil:
Before mixing, store alprostadil at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. After mixing, you may store alprostadil below 77 degrees (25 degrees C) for up to 24 hours. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep alprostadil out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about alprostadil, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Alprostadil is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take alprostadil or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about alprostadil. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to alprostadil. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using alprostadil.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
More about alprostadil
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- Alprostadil injectable and transurethral
- Alprostadil Intraurethral, Intravenous, Intracavernosal (Advanced Reading)