Alprostadil | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

alprostadil, Urethral solid

All Brands

  • Muse
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for alprostadil

Urethral solid
1

Alprostadil is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. This is the inability to get or keep an erection. This condition is also called impotence.

2

Alprostadil is available in two forms: an injectable, or a suppository that is inserted into the urethra.

3

Alprostadil should not be used with other medications used to treat ED.

4

The more common side effects of this drug can include pain, bruising, or rash at the injection site, or headache.

5

One of the most serious adverse events is long-lasting erections. Call your doctor if your erection lasts longer than 4 hours.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Long-lasting erections

Alprostadil may cause erections that last longer than 4 hours. Such long erections can damage penis tissue and make you unable to have future erections. Call your doctor if your erection lasts longer than 4 hours.

Sexual activity not advised

If your doctor advises you not to take part in sexual activity, don’t use alprostadil.

Low blood pressure

Alprostadil urethral suppository can cause low blood pressure and loss of consciousness. Avoid driving or doing other dangerous activities for at least one hour after using this drug.

Drug features

Alprostadil is a prescription drug. It’s not available as a generic drug. It’s available in several brand-name versions. Caverject, Caverject Impulse, and Edex are injectable solutions that are injected into the penis tissue. Muse is a urethral suppository. This form is inserted into the urethra, the tube inside the penis.

Your healthcare provider or pharmacist will teach you how to use the suppository before you use it the first time.

Alprostadil should not be used in combination with other drugs that treat ED.

Why it's used

Alprostadil is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. This is the inability to get or keep an erection. This condition is also called impotence.

How it works

Alprostadil belongs to a class of drugs called prostaglandins.

More Details

How it works

Alprostadil belongs to a class of drugs called prostaglandins. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Alprostadil works by relaxing the muscles in the penis and increasing blood flow to the penis. These actions cause an erection.

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SECTION 2 of 4

alprostadil Side Effects

Urethral solid

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of alprostadil suppository include:

  • pain in the penis, legs, or testicles

  • redness, warmth, or burning sensations in the penis

  • mild bleeding due to incorrect suppository administration

  • headache

  • flu-like symptoms

  • back pain

  • pain in the pelvic area (lower abdomen)

  • runny nose

Serious Side Effects

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Long-lasting erection. Symptoms can include:

    • an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours
  • Swelling of leg veins

  • Low blood pressure. Symptoms can include:

    • feeling dizzy and lightheadedness
    • increased heart rate
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Muse can cause dizziness or fainting. This is a greater risk during the hour after administration. Avoid driving or doing other activities that could be dangerous within the hour after taking this drug.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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alprostadil May Interact with Other Medications

Urethral solid

Alprostadil can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

Avoid using alcohol with alprostadil. Drinking alcohol can cause or worsen ED problems.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Blood pressure drugs

Using alprostadil urethral suppository with medications that treat high blood pressure may cause very low blood pressure. Before taking alprostadil, tell your doctor if you are taking any blood pressure medications. Examples of blood pressure drugs include:

  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as:
    • benazepril
    • captopril
    • clizapril
  • angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), such as:
    • irbesartan
    • losartan
    • olmesartan
  • beta-blockers, such as:
    • acebutolol
    • arotinolol
    • atenolol

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Alprostadil warnings
blood disorders
People with blood disorders

Health conditions such as sickle cell anemia, leukemia, or multiple myeloma raise your risk of a dangerous, long-lasting erection when using alprostadil.

penile implant
People with penile implants or abnormal penis

If you have a penile implant or a penis with an abnormal shape, don’t use alprostadil.

should not engage in sexual activity
People who should not engage in sexual activity

If your doctor advises you to avoid sexual activity, you shouldn’t use alprostadil.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Alprostadil is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Wear a condom when using alprostadil urethral suppository during sexual activity with a pregnant woman. If you don’t, your partner may be exposed to alprostadil.

for children
For children

Alprostadil should not be used in children.

call doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you see redness, lumps, swelling, or curving of your penis.

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How to Take alprostadil (Dosage)

Urethral solid

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Erectile dysfunction

Brand: Muse

Form: Urethral suppository
Strengths: 125 mcg, 250 mcg, 500 mcg, 1,000 mcg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Your first dose will be administered at your doctor’s office. This allows your doctor to determine the right dose for you, and to check for low blood pressure. Your doctor will train you to administer the alprostadil suppository.

Typical starting dose: 125 mcg, or 250 mcg if needed

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Alprostadil should not be used in children.

Warnings

Don’t use more than 2 alprostadil urethral suppositories within a 24-hour period.

If your dosage needs to be adjusted, this should be done in your doctor’s office. This allows your doctor to monitor you for side effects.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

An erection usually starts 5 to 10 minutes after you insert a suppository. It typically lasts about 30 to 60 minutes.

This medication might cause side effects in your sexual partner. Typical side effects in women include vaginal itching and burning.

Alprostadil comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • pain in the penis
  • long-lasting erections
  • an erection that lasts longer than 1 hour

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your ED symptoms should get better. You should find it easier to achieve an erection.

Alprostadil is used for short-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking aprostadil
timing
Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
storage
Store this drug carefully
See Details
refillable
Prescription is refillable
See Details
travel
Travel
See Details
self-management
Self-management
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not ususally stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.
prior authorization
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store alprostadil urethral suppositories in the refrigerator.
    • For up to 14 days, they can be stored at any temperature below 86°F (30°C).
  • Don’t expose this medication to sunlight.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Prescription is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you, such as in your carry-on bag.
  • This drug needs to be kept cool. If traveling for less than 14 days, it can be kept at any temperature below 86°F (30°C). For longer than 14 days, carry it in a portable cooler or in a bag with portable ice packs.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Your doctor will train you to use the urethral suppository. You can also follow the instructions found in the package insert.

Clinical monitoring

You may need to visit your doctor every 3 months to make sure that alprostadil is safe and working well for you.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.


Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on October 1, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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