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 a certain genetic heart condition. This alprostadil medication guide addresses only the adult male use of this medication in erectile disorders.

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 other purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Do not use alprostadil if you have:

  • sickle cell anemia or the sickle cell anemia trait;
  • leukemia;
  • a tumor of the bone marrow (multiple myeloma);
  • chronic urination problems;
  • a history of blood clots;
  • a curved or deformed penis;
  • penile fibrosis or Peyronie's disease; or
  • if you have been told you should not have sexual intercourse for health reasons.

Before using alprostadil, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a bleeding or blood-clotting disorder;
  • a disease that could be passed in blood (such as hepatitis or HIV);
  • heart disease;
  • high blood pressure (hypertension); or
  • if you have a penile implant.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication.

Use a condom to prevent transfer of this medication to your sexual partner if she is pregnant or could become pregnant.

Alprostadil should not be used by women or by anyone under 18 years old.

Alprostadil can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

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Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medication. Overdose symptoms may include feeling light-headed, fainting, or having a painful or prolonged erection lasting 4 hours or longer.

Since alprostadil is used as needed, you will not be on a dosing schedule.

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Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using alprostadil and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • bleeding from your urethra;
  • 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; or
  • redness, lumps, tenderness, unusual shape or curving of the erect penis.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • pain in your penis, urethra, or testicles;
  • headache, dizziness;
  • back pain;
  • a rash on the skin of your penis;
  • warmth or numbness of your penis; or
  • cough, stuffy nose, cold symptoms.

Your sexual partner may also experience side effects such as burning, itching, or irritation of the body areas that come into contact with your penis.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Before using alprostadil, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • nitroglycerin;
  • hydralazine (BiDil); or
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, dalteparin (Fragmin), danaparoid (Orgaran), or enoxaparin (Lovenox).

This list is not complete and here may be other drugs that can interact with alprostadil. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

Caverject, Caverject Impulse, Edex, Edex Refill, Muse, Prostin VR Pediatric, and alprostadil

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Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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