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Drugs, Devices & Supplements

Alprostadil (Intraurethral)

(Also Called 'Muse')

Brand name: MUSE

What is alprostadil?

Alprostadil belongs to a group of medicines called vasodilators. These drugs can increase blood flow by expanding blood vessels. This medicine is identical to a naturally occurring substance found in the body that helps keep the blood vessels open and increases blood flow. Alprostadil helps treat ED by increasing the blood flow to the penis, thus causing an erection.

Alprostadil should not be used as a sexual aid by men who do not have erectile dysfunction. If this medicine is not used properly, permanent damage to the penis and loss of the ability to have erections could result.

How should alprostadil be used?

The intraurethral form of alprostadil is given as a suppository into the urethra. Before using alprostadil, be sure that you fully understand the proper way to administer it. Before inserting the suppository, you should urinate; the small amount of urine left in the urethra will help dissolve the suppository after it has been inserted. To help dissolve the suppository, roll your penis between your hands for 10 seconds. If you feel any stinging, continue this motion to help stop it. Sitting, standing or walking for 10 minutes while an erection is developing helps increase the blood flow to your penis to gain a proper erection. Alprostadil is also available in an injectable form.

Do not insert more than two doses of alprostadil within a twenty-four hour period and do not use any more than the doctor-recommended dose during a single usage. This could result in permanent damage to the penis.

If you are uncertain or have any questions about using alprostadil, be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist.

How quickly will alprostadil begin to work?

Alprostadil usually begins to work in about 5 to 10 minutes. Intercourse should be attempted within 10 to 30 minutes after using this medication. An erection may continue after ejaculation.

Are there any precautions I should take before taking alprostadil?

Before taking alprostadil, tell your doctor:

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to alprostadil
  • If are allergic to any other substances such as foods, preservatives or dyes
  • If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicine including herbal and dietary supplements
  • If you have a penile implant
  • If you have a history of priapism
  • If you have any medical problems, especially:
    • Abnormalities to your penis such as curvature or birth defects
    • Bleeding problems
    • Penile infection
    • Red or itchy penis
    • Conditions that cause thickened or slower blood flow such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, polycythemia, sickle cell disease, or thrombocythemia

When using the suppository form of alprostadil, use a condom if having sexual intercourse with a pregnant woman. It is unlikely that the medication would harm the fetus; however, using a condom will protect it from exposure. Condom usage is recommended to prevent pregnancy. The effects of alprostadil on early pregnancy are still unknown.

What are the side effects of alprostadil?

Side effects with alprostadil are not common, but they do occur. Contact your doctor if any of the following symptoms become worse or do not go away:

  • Mild bleeding or spotting from the urethra
  • Stinging of the urethra
  • Light-headedness, fainting

When should I call the doctor?

Contact your doctor immediately if the following side effects occur:

  • Curving of the penis with pain during an erection
  • Erection continues for four to six hours with severe and continuing pain in the penis
  • Swelling in or pain of the testes
  • Dizziness
  • Faintness
  • Pelvic pain
  • Flu-like symptoms

What storage conditions are needed for alprostadil?

Alprostadil should be kept in its original container and out of the reach of children. The suppository form of alprostadil can be stored at room temperature, away from excess heat or moisture (such as the bathroom) for up to 14 days. Otherwise, store it in the refrigerator, but be sure to keep it from freezing. Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine that you no longer need.


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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 3/26/2012...#10050