What is alprostadil used for?
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 a certain genetic heart condition.
Alprostadil relaxes blood vessels and muscles in the penis. This increases blood flow into the penis, causing an erection.
Alprostadil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
How should I take alprostadil?
Alprostadil is taken by injection. Ask your doctor for more information.
How do I store alprostadil?
Alprostadil is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store alprostadil in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of alprostadil that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.
You should not flush alprostadil down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Precautions & warnings
What should I know before using alprostadil?
Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
- You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of alprostadil or other medications.
- You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to alprostadil, or if you have sickle cell anemia, leukemia, a bone marrow tumor, a curved or deformed penis, penile fibrosis or Peyronie’s disease, a penile implant, or if you have been told you should not have sexual intercourse for health reasons.
Using too much alprostadil can be very dangerous. Follow all directions on your prescription label.
Seek emergency medical attention if you have a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 hours or longer.
You should not use alprostadil if you have:
- Sickle cell anemia or the sickle cell anemia trait
- A tumor of the bone marrow (multiple myeloma)
- A curved or deformed penis
- Penile fibrosis or Peyronie’s disease
- A penile implant
You should not use if you have been told you should not have sexual intercourse for health reasons.
Use a condom to prevent transfer of this medicine to your sexual partner if she is pregnant or could become pregnant.
Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
There isn’t enough information about the safety of using alprostadil during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking alprostadil.
What side effects can occur from 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
- Trouble urinating, blood in your urine
- Bleeding, bruising, or swelling where you injected the medication
- A painful erection that lasts 4 hours or longer
- Severe pain or irritation of your penis or urethra
- Redness, lumps, tenderness, unusual shape or curving of the erect penis
Common side effects may include:
- Mild pain in your penis, urethra, or testicles
- Unusual discharge from your penis
- Cough, stuffy nose, cold symptoms, flu symptoms
Your sexual partner may also have side effects such as burning, itching, or irritation of the body areas that come into contact with your penis.
Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What drugs may interact with alprostadil?
Alprostadil may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.
Does food or alcohol interact with alprostadil?
Alprostadil may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.
What health conditions may interact with alprostadil?
Alprostadil may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.
Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:
- A history of blood clots
- Heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension)
- A bleeding or blood-clotting disorder
- A disease that could be passed in blood (such as hepatitis or HIV)
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using alprostadil.
What is the dose of alprostadil for an adult?
Your first dose of this medicine will be given in your doctor’s office so you can be watched for how well the medicine works and if it causes any side effects. You will then be shown how to properly give the medication to yourself. Wait at least 1 day after your first dose before using the medicine again.
Alprostadil is used only when needed to get an erection. An erection should occur within 5 to 20 minutes after you use the medication, and should last for 30 to 60 minutes. The length of time your erection lasts may be slightly different.
The injectable form of alprostadil is injected into the side of the penis.
The transurethral pellet is a very small suppository that is inserted into the opening of the penis (the urethra).
Do not use more than 2 alprostadil pellets in one day (24 hours). Do not use more than 3 alprostadil injections per week. Allow at least 24 hours to pass between injections.
Prepare your alprostadil dose only when you are ready to use the medicine. Do not shake the mixed medicine. After mixing, the medicine should be clear. Do not use the medicine if it looks cloudy or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
Do not give yourself an alprostadil injection or pellet if you do not understand the instructions for proper use. Call your doctor or pharmacist for help with injection instructions. Using an alprostadil transurethral pellet improperly could cause damage to your urethra.
An alprostadil injection can cause bleeding where the needle is placed. This can make it easier for your sexual partner to be exposed to your blood. A virus such as hepatitis or HIV can be passed to another person who comes into contact with your blood.
To be sure alprostadil is not causing harmful effects, your penis may need to be examined every 3 months. Visit your doctor regularly.
What is the dose of alprostadil for a child?
The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How is alprostadil available?
Alprostadil is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:
What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?
In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.
What should I do if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of alprostadil, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: September 29, 2017 | Last Modified: December 19, 2019