You can’t get or keep a proper erection if you have erectile dysfunction (also known as impotence). There are several reasons for this, the most common of which is a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the penis. Alprostadil is a vasodilator, which means that it improves blood flow by widening (dilating) blood vessels. When blood flow to the penis is increased, an erection is usually achieved within 10-15 minutes.
Alprostadil is administered as an injection into the base of the penis. It comes in the form of a urethral application, which involves inserting a small alprostadil pellet into your urethra (the tube through which your urine passes and which opens at the end of your penis). It’s also available as a cream that you apply to the urethra opening on the tip of your penis. You will be instructed on how to use the medication that has been prescribed for you.
Alprostadil: How to Use It
Read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from the inside of the pack before beginning the treatment. It will provide you with more information about the specific brand of alprostadil you’ve been prescribed, as well as diagrams to help you remember how to take it and a complete list of any potential side effects.
If alprostadil injection (Caverject® or Viridal® Duo) is prescribed, follow the instructions carefully:
- The injection is given at the base of your genital area. When you first begin treatment, your doctor will give you a low dose and gradually increase it as needed. This is to ensure that you are getting the right dose for your condition and that you are not experiencing any unpleasant side effects. Your first injection will be administered by a doctor or nurse, but you will be able to administer it yourself at home after receiving proper training and instruction. If you have any questions about the instructions given to you, it is critical that you ask.
- Try injecting alprostadil at a slightly different site each time, as this will help prevent skin problems.
- You must wait at least 24 hours after using an alprostadil injection before using another. Alprostadil injection should not be used more than three times per week.
- An injection with a bent or broken needle should never be used or attempted to straighten. If a bent needle is discovered, the injection should be discarded and a new one should be chosen.
If alprostadil urethral application (MUSE®) is prescribed, make sure to follow the instructions carefully:
- It’s best to pass urine right before inserting a pellet, as this moistens your urethra and makes the insertion more comfortable.
- A doctor or nurse may administer the first dose to you. This is to show you how to use the applicator and to ensure you’re getting the right dose for your condition while avoiding any unwanted side effects. Before advising you to do it yourself at home, your doctor or nurse will teach you how to use the applicator. If you are unsure about any of the instructions given to you, it is critical that you ask.
- It’s critical to use a barrier method of contraception (such as a condom) during sex if your partner is pregnant. This is done to protect the unborn child from any harm. It will also help to avoid any irritation of your partner’s vaginal area.
- You can’t take more than two doses in a 24-hour period, and you can’t take more than seven doses per week.
If alprostadil urethral cream (Vitaros®) is prescribed, use it as directed:
- Vitaros® cream comes in only one concentration: 300 micrograms. The cream is packaged in a syringe-like container (which should not be inserted into your penis or injected in any way). Only one use per container is allowed.
- A doctor or nurse may administer the first dose to you. This is to demonstrate how to properly apply the cream before you attempt it at home. If you are unsure about any of the instructions given to you, it is critical that you ask.
- The cream usually starts working in 5-30 minutes and lasts an hour or two, though this can vary from person to person.
- It is critical that you use a barrier method of contraception (such as a condom) during sex if your partner is pregnant. This is to protect the unborn child from any harm. It will also protect your partner’s vaginal area from irritation.
- You can’t take more than one dose in a 24-hour period, and you can’t take more than three doses per week.