Alprostadil injection and suppositories are used to treat certain types of erectile dysfunction (impotence; inability to get or keep an erection) in men. Alprostadil injection is also sometimes used in combination with other tests to diagnose erectile dysfunction. Alprostadil is in a class of medications called vasodilators. It works by relaxing the muscles and blood vessels in the penis to keep enough blood in the penis so that an erection can occur.
Alprostadil does not cure erectile dysfunction or increase sexual desire. Alprostadil does not prevent pregnancy or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Alprostadil comes as a powder to be mixed with the liquid provided in the package and injected into the penis and as a urethral suppository (pellet to be placed into the urinary opening of the penis). Alprostadil is used as needed before sexual activity. An erection may occur within 5 to 20 minutes after using the injection and within 5 to 10 minutes after using the pellet. The erection should last approximately 30 to 60 minutes. Alprostadil injection should not be used more than three times per week, with at least 24 hours between uses. Alprostadil pellets should not be used more than twice in a 24-hour period. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use alprostadil exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will administer the first dose of alprostadil in his or her office to determine the proper dose for you. After you begin to use alprostadil at home, your doctor may gradually increase or decrease your dose. Tell your doctor if you do not experience satisfactory erections or if your erections last for too long, but do not change your dose without talking to your doctor.
You must be trained by your doctor before using alprostadil at home. Be sure that you understand exactly how to use alprostadil. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about how to use your medication.
Do not reuse needles, syringes, cartridges, vials , pellets, or applicators. Throw away used needles and syringes in a puncture-resistant container. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to dispose of the container.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
bleeding or bruising in the place where you administered the medication
pain or aching in the penis, testicles, legs, or perineum (area between the penis and rectum)
warmth or burning sensation in the urinary opening of the penis
redness of the penis
erection lasting more than 4 hours
redness, swelling, tenderness, or unusual curving of the erect penis
nodules or hard areas on the penis
swollen veins in the legs
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store alprostadil vials and cartridges at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Read the manufacturer's instructions for information about how long alprostadil solution may be stored after mixing and where it should be kept. Alprostadil pellets should be stored in the original package in the refrigerator, but may be kept at room temperature for up to 14 days before use. Do not expose the medication to high temperatures or place it in direct sunlight since this will make it ineffective. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
When traveling, do not store alprostadil in checked luggage or leave it in the car where it may be exposed to extreme temperatures. Store alprostadil pellets in a portable ice pack or cooler.
If someone uses too much alprostadil, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
pain in the penis that does not go away
erection lasting longer than 6 hours
Keep all appointments with your doctor. It is important to have regular follow-up visits with your doctor (e.g., every 3 months).
Do not let anyone else use your medication, needles, or syringes. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Reviewed - 09/01/2010
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.