alprostadil (injectable and transurethral)
What is the most important information I should know about alprostadil?
This medication guide addresses only the adult male use of alprostadil in erectile disorders.
Seek emergency medical attention if you have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 hours or longer.
What is alprostadil?
Alprostadil is used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence) and to help diagnose certain causes of this disorder. Alprostadil is also used to improve blood flow in newborn babies with heart problems. This medication guide addresses only the adult male use of alprostadil in erectile disorders.
Alprostadil relaxes blood vessels and muscles in the penis which increases blood flow, causing an erection.
Alprostadil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using alprostadil?
You should not use alprostadil if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- sickle cell anemia or the sickle cell trait;
- a tumor of the bone marrow (multiple myeloma);
- a curved or deformed penis;
- penile fibrosis or Peyronie's disease;
- if you have a penile implant; or
- if you must avoid sexual intercourse for health reasons.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- heart disease;
- high or low blood pressure; or
- bleeding problems.
Caverject, Caverject Impulse, Edex, or Muse should not be used by women or by anyone under 18 years old.
While using alprostadil pellets, use condoms during sex if your partner is pregnant or able to get pregnant. The effects of alprostadil on an unborn baby at conception or during pregnancy are unknown.
How should I use alprostadil?
A healthcare provider will give your first dose and teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Alprostadil is used only when needed. An erection should occur within 5 to 20 minutes and last up to 60 minutes.
Alprostadil injection is injected into the side of the penis.
Alprostatil transurethral pellet is a very small suppository to be inserted into the opening of the penis (the urethra).
Do not use more than 2 pellets in one day. Do not use more than 3 injections per week. Wait at least 24 hours between each injection.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand how to use the injection.
Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Call your pharmacist if the medicine looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has particles in it.
Do not reuse a needle or syringe. Place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container and dispose of it following state or local laws. Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Call your doctor if a needle breaks while you are injecting alprostadil. If you can grasp the broken end, remove the needle right away.
Your doctor should check you every 3 months to be sure alprostadil is not causing harmful effects on your penis.
Storing this medicine:
- Keep pellets in their original foil pouch in the refrigerator. You may store a pouch at cool room temperature for up to 14 days. Protect from freezing or extreme heat. Do not store in a closed automobile or in luggage while traveling.
- Store alprostadil injection vials at cool room temperature. The 40-microgram strength should be used within 3 months or before the expiration date on the label.
- After mixing a Caverject injection, keep it at room temperature and use within 24 hours.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since alprostadil is used when needed, it does not have a daily dosing schedule.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose can cause fainting, or a painful and prolonged erection.
What should I avoid while using alprostadil?
Avoid driving or hazardous activity if you feel light-headed.
Using alprostadil will not protect you from sexually transmitted disease. Ask your doctor how to prevent disease transmission during sex. Sharing drug or medicine needles is never safe.
What are the possible side effects of alprostadil?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using alprostadil and call your doctor at once if you have:
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- bleeding after an injection;
- a painful erection that lasts 4 hours or longer;
- new or worsening pain in your penis; or
- redness, swelling, tenderness, lumps, unusual shape or curving of the erect penis.
Common side effects may include:
- mild pain in your penis, urethra, or testicles;
- redness of the penis; or
- warmth or burning in your urethra.
Your sex partner may have side effects such as burning, itching, or irritation of body areas that come into contact with your penis.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect alprostadil?
Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:
- other medicines injected into the penis; or
- a blood thinner --heparin, warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect alprostadil, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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