Alprostadil: Uses Applications and Side Effects

What is an Alprostadil?

Alprostadil is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. It is a chemically identical synthetic form of prostaglandin E1.

Alprostadil relaxes the muscles and blood vessels in the penis, which increases blood flow, causing an erection. It comes in the form of an injection that is administered directly into the penis or as a suppository that is inserted into the urethra.

The medication is only available by prescription and should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

How does Alprostadil work?

Alprostadil works to improve blood flow in a specific area, depending on the condition being treated. Here’s how it works for erectile dysfunction:

Relaxation for Increased Flow: Alprostadil helps by relaxing the smooth muscles lining your blood vessels. This widens the vessels, allowing more blood to flow through.

Mimicking a Natural Process: Alprostadil is a synthetic version of a natural substance in your body called prostaglandin E1 (PGE1). PGE1 helps keep blood vessels open. By acting similarly, alprostadil increases blood flow.

Erection through Blood Flow: When alprostadil is injected into the penis or inserted as a suppository, it acts directly on the smooth muscle in the spongy tissue (corpora cavernosa) of your penis. This relaxation widens the arteries supplying blood to the area. The increased blood flow causes the corpora cavernosa to swell, lengthen, and stiffen, resulting in an erection.

In simpler terms:  Imagine alprostadil like a key that unlocks the path for blood to flow more freely. In the case of erectile dysfunction, this increased blood flow allows for an erection to occur.

How to Use Aprostadil ?


Alprostadil can be used in two primary ways: as an injection or as a suppository, each serving different needs but with the same goal of treating erectile dysfunction.


We administer Alprostadil injections directly into the penis, targeting either the side or base for optimal absorption. You’ll find that the recommended starting dose ranges between 1.25 and 2.5mcg, tailored to your individual response. Typically, you can expect an erection to occur within 5 to 20 minutes, lasting for up to an hour. This method is often available under brand names such as Caverject, Edex, and Prostin VR.

Before you administer the injection, it’s crucial to wash your hands thoroughly and cleanse the injection site with rubbing alcohol. To reduce the risk of injury and ensure effectiveness, we recommend alternating the injection site with each dose and avoiding the use of bent needles. After the injection, applying pressure to the site with an alcohol swab for about 5 minutes can help prevent bruising.


Alprostadil is also available in the form of a small suppository, designed to be inserted directly into the urethra at the tip of the penis. This approach, known as “MUSE” (Medicated Urethral System for Erection), provides an alternative to injections. Remember, suppositories should be used as needed and not more than twice within a 24-hour window.

To insert the suppository:

Begin by urinating; this can help with the insertion process.

Use a plastic applicator to insert the suppository into the urethra. If necessary, the applicator can be lubricated to ease the process.

Gently roll the penis between your hands for about 10 seconds, assisting the suppository to dissolve effectively.

Afterwards, sitting, standing, or walking for approximately 10 minutes can enhance blood flow and aid in achieving an erection.

What are the Side Effects of Alprostadil?


Alprostadil is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction in men and improve blood flow in newborn babies with heart problems. It comes in two main forms: a solution that is injected directly into the penis, and a suppository that is inserted into the urethra.

While uncommon, alprostadil can cause side effects. We recommend discussing any side effects you experience with your doctor. Some potential side effects include allergic reaction, pain, bruising, and dizziness.

A more serious side effect is priapism, which is a painful erection lasting more than four hours. If you experience priapism, stop using alprostadil and seek immediate medical attention.

What are the Warning and Precautions of the Alprostadil?

Alprostadil: Warnings and Precautions

When considering the use of Alprostadil, it’s crucial for you to be aware of certain warnings and precautions to ensure your safety and well-being. Alprostadil may lead to side effects such as pain in your penis, testicles, or groin area, minor bleeding or spotting from the penis, dizziness, swelling (notably in the veins of your legs), and a rapid heartbeat. If you notice these effects persisting or worsening, we strongly advise you to reach out to your healthcare provider effectively.

We emphasize that your doctor has prescribed this medication because the anticipated benefits are judged to outweigh the risks of side effects. Although many individuals do not face significant side effects, it’s vital for you to inform your doctor immediately if you encounter severe side effects, including fainting.

A particularly rare but serious side effect that men may experience is a painful or prolonged erection lasting more than 4 hours. Should this occur, you must discontinue the use of the medication and seek urgent medical care to prevent any permanent issues.

For female partners, there’s a possibility of experiencing vaginal burning or itching, which might be associated with the medication. Utilizing a water-based lubricant can alleviate vaginal irritation.

Severe allergic reactions to this drug are rare. However, if you observe symptoms such as a rash, swelling (especially of the face, tongue, or throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing, it’s imperative to seek immediate medical help. Remember, we’re here to guide you through understanding these precautions so you can use Alprostadil safely and effectively.

How Does Alprostadil Interact with Other Medicines?

Alprostadil, a prostaglandin E1 agonist, has many interactions with other medicines, some of which can increase the risk of side effects. It is crucial to consult a doctor or pharmacist before combining it with any other medications.

The risk or severity of side effects like hypotension and priapism can increase when alprostadil interacts with avanafil, dipyridamole or fostamatinib. Iloprost may also increase the drug’s hypotensive activities, while isosorbide mononitrate increases its vasodilatory activities.

Alprostadil should not be combined with other oral erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra, as this may increase toxic effects. People who take blood thinners or have a condition that makes them more prone to bleeding should also exercise caution, as alprostadil may increase the risk of bleeding.

Here’s a Complete Alprostadil Medication Interaction List

Some medicines may also affect the way alprostadil works, including heparin and warfarin.

What happens if I miss a dose of  Alprostadil?

Alprostadil is typically used as needed, so if you miss a dose, you can take it as soon as possible. However, if it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, it’s best to wait and take the medication at your regular time. We recommend not doubling up on doses.

Alprostadil comes in two main forms: an injection or a suppository that is inserted into the urethra. Both forms are used to treat erectile dysfunction.

What happens if I overdose on Alprostadil?

If you accidentally take more Alprostadil than prescribed, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Symptoms of an overdose can include fainting, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, and pain in the penis that won’t subside. You might also experience an erection lasting longer than 6 hours.

We understand this can be a stressful situation. The most important thing is to get medical help as soon as possible. This will allow healthcare professionals to effectively manage your symptoms and prevent any complications from Alprostadil overdose.

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