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All about: Alprostadil

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Generic Name: Alprostadil Injection (al-PROS-ta-dil)
Brand Name: Examples include Caverject and Caverject Impulse

Alprostadil is used for:

Treating erectile problems in men. It may also be used to help diagnose erectile dysfunction.

Alprostadil is a prostaglandin (PGE-1). It works by relaxing certain muscles in the penis and widening blood vessels, which increases blood flow to the penis and helps to cause an erection. When the effect of the alprostadil wears off, blood flow returns to normal and the erection disappears.

Do NOT use Alprostadil if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Alprostadil
  • you have urinary problems (eg, inflammation or narrowing of the urinary tract), blood or bone marrow problems (eg, sickle cell anemia, thrombocytopenia, polycythemia, multiple myeloma, leukemia, thick or "sticky" blood), blood clotting problems, if you are at risk for a prolonged, painful erection, or a history of blood clots
  • you have inflammation or infection of the penis, Peyronie disease (scar tissue on your penis), fibrosis of the penis, your penis is not straight when erect, your penis is structurally abnormal in any way, or you have a penile implant
  • you have any other physical reason that you should not have sexual intercourse
  • the patient is a woman or a child

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Alprostadil :

Tell your health care provider if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of prolonged and painful erection
  • if you have heart problems, lung problems (eg, adult respiratory distress syndrome), or a blood-borne disease (eg, HIV, hepatitis)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Alprostadil . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because the risk of bleeding may be increased
  • Medicines for high blood pressure because side effects, such as dizziness and fainting, may be increased by Alprostadil
  • Medicines that affect your blood vessels (eg, nitroglycerin) because the risk of side effects may be increased. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if any of your medicines may affect your blood vessels.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Alprostadil may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Alprostadil :

Use Alprostadil as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Alprostadil comes with an additional patient leaflet. Read it carefully and reread it each time you get Alprostadil refilled.
  • Alprostadil should be used as needed to achieve an erection.
  • Use Alprostadil exactly as instructed by your health care provider. Before using Alprostadil , your health care provider should instruct you on the proper technique for self-administering Alprostadil . Contact your health care provider if you have any questions about using Alprostadil .
  • If Alprostadil contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Do not use more than 1 dose of Alprostadil in a 24-hour period or more than 3 doses per week without first checking with your doctor.
  • Each dose is for single use and should be properly thrown away after use. Do not reuse needles or syringes.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • The medicine usually takes effect 5 to 20 minutes after being used. The effect lasts about 30 to 60 minutes. However, the duration will vary from person to person.
  • If you miss a dose of Alprostadil , take it as soon as you remember. Continue to take it as directed by your doctor.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Alprostadil .

Important safety information:

  • Alprostadil may cause dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Alprostadil . Using Alprostadil alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • You will need to have a complete medical history and physical exam before using Alprostadil .
  • Tell your doctor if you experience painful erections or erections that last for more than 4 hours. If prolonged erection is not treated immediately, damage to the penile tissue and loss of potency could result.
  • Alprostadil does not protect against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Take precautions to guard against the spread of STDs, including HIV.
  • If you have not had sexual intercourse for a long time, consult your health care provider before resuming sexual intercourse. It may be necessary to use a water-based lubricant during sexual intercourse.
  • LAB TESTS, including penile examination, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Alprostadil is not recommended for use in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.

Possible side effects of Alprostadil :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dizziness; flu symptoms; headache; groin pain; mild bleeding at the injection site; mild penile pain; runny nose; testicular pain .

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); abnormal ejaculation; bleeding from the tip of the penis; curving of the erect penis; decreased urination; fainting; fast pulse; leg pain; pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; prolonged, painful erections; redness, lumps, swelling, tenderness, inflammation, numbness, strange sensation, or discoloration of the penis; severe or persistent bleeding or bruising at the injection site; swelling of the leg veins; white patches or discharge from the penis.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include fainting; lasting pain in the penis, and painful erections lasting more than 6 hours; lightheadedness.

Proper storage of Alprostadil :

Before mixing, store Alprostadil at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. After mixing, store Alprostadil below 77 degrees (25 degrees C) and use within 24 hours. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Alprostadil out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Alprostadil , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Alprostadil is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Alprostadil . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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