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All about: Alprostadil

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Generic name: Alprostadil
Brand names: Edex, Muse, Caverject

Why is Alprostadil prescribed?

Caverject is used to treat male impotence. Your doctor also may use Caverject to help diagnose the exact nature of your impotence.

Caverject and the similar brand Edex are both taken by injection. A third brand, Muse, is taken as a small suppository inserted in the penis.

Most important fact about Alprostadil

Caverject is known to have caused extremely long-lasting erections. Serious harm can occur from such a prolonged erection, so call your doctor or seek other professional help if an erection lasts more than 4 hours. Usually the erection should last about 1 hour.

How should you use Alprostadil?

Caverject is injected into a specific area of the penis and produces an erection within 5 to 20 minutes. Do not use Caverject more than 3 times a week. Wait at least 24 hours between use.

The first injections are performed by your doctor in the doctor's office in order to determine the proper dosage. Afterwards, you can inject Caverject yourself as needed. Your doctor will train you in the proper technique for injecting Caverject and you'll be given complete printed instructions. Follow these directions exactly and do not change the dose your doctor has determined.

Do not use a Caverject solution that appears cloudy or colored or that contains particles. Do not shake the vial.

Wash your hands thoroughly and do not touch the needle. Carefully choose the injection site as instructed by your doctor, always avoiding visible veins. Cleanse the site with an alcohol swab. With each use, alternate the side of the penis and the site of the injection.

Use the needle/syringe and vial only once, then discard them properly. Do not share needles or allow anyone else to use your medication.

Caverject comes in both 10 microgram and 20 microgram strengths. Make sure you are using a vial with the correct strength.

After injecting Edex, put pressure on the injection site for 5 minutes, or until the bleeding stops.

If you have been prescribed Muse, your doctor will instruct you in the correct way to insert the suppository. An erection should occur within 5 to 10 minutes of insertion. Do not use more than 2 suppositories in 24 hours. Discard each applicator after a single use.

--Storage instructions...

Store unused packs of Caverject at room temperature for up to 3 months. Protect from freezing or from overheating.

Once the Caverject solution is mixed, you must use it immediately or discard it.

When traveling, take care to prevent exposing Caverject to freezing or excessive heat. Do not store Caverject in checked luggage or leave it in a closed car.

Muse suppositories should be stored in the refrigerator, but may be left at room temperature for up to 14 days before use. Protect the suppositories from high temperatures and direct sunlight. Carry them in a portable cooler when traveling.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue using Alprostadil.

CAVERJECT AND EDEX

The most common side effect is mild to moderate pain in the penis during and/or after injection, reported by about one-third of users. A small amount of bleeding may occur at the injection site. Notify your doctor if you have a condition or are taking a medication that interferes with blood clotting. As with any injection, the site can become infected. Call your doctor if you notice any redness, lumps, swelling, tenderness, or curving of the erect penis.

Your doctor should examine your penis regularly if you use Caverject. Use of Caverject may result in formation of fibrous (hardened) tissue in the penis or erections at an unusual angle. If those side effects occur, inform your doctor and stop using Caverject.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Blood-filled swelling at the site of injection, disorder of the penis (such as discoloration of the head, strange feeling, tearing of the skin), hardened tissue in the penis, pain in the penis, prolonged erection, upper respiratory infection

MUSE

  • More common side effects may include:
    Extremely low blood pressure, flu symptoms, headache, infection, pain, penis bleeding, penis burning or pain, testicular pain

In addition, Muse may cause vaginal burning and itching in your partner.

Why should Alprostadil not be prescribed?

Do not use Caverject if you have a condition that might result in long-lasting erections, such as sickle cell anemia, increased levels of white cells in your blood, and tumor of the bone marrow.

Men with penile implants or an unusually formed penis should not use Caverject. The drug is not for use in women, children, or men whose doctors have advised them not to have sex.

Do not use Caverject, Edex, or Muse if it causes an allergic reaction or if you have ever had a reaction to any prostaglandin drugs.

Do not use Muse for sexual intercourse with a pregnant woman unless you use a condom.

Special warnings about Alprostadil

These drugs offer no protection from the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Small amounts of bleeding at the injection or suppository site can increase the risk of transmission of blood-borne diseases such as HIV.

Remember that development of any unusual deformity of the penis while using Caverject is a signal to stop taking the injections and inform your doctor.

Because Muse has been known to cause low blood pressure and fainting, you should avoid driving and other hazardous activities after using it. When using Muse with a partner in her child-bearing years, contraception is recommended.

Possible food and drug interactions when using Alprostadil

No interactions have been reported, but these products should not be used with other drugs that act on blood vessels, such as blood pressure medications.

You may have some bleeding at the site of injection or insertion. If you are taking anticoagulants such as heparin or Coumadin you may bleed more. Make sure that any doctor who prescribes an anticoagulant is aware that you are using one of these medications.

Recommended dosage

CAVERJECT AND EDEX

The correct dose of Caverject must be carefully determined by your doctor. Each man will need a different dose of Caverject, but the usual starting dosage is 1.25 or 2.5 micrograms, which is then increased gradually. Your doctor will adjust the dosage, particularly if it produces erections lasting longer than 1 hour. Doses should not exceed 60 micrograms.

The dosage range for Edex is 1 to 40 micrograms, given over 5 to 10 seconds.

Do not change your dosage without your doctor's approval. See your doctor every 3 months for a checkup.

MUSE

The suppositories come in four strengths, ranging from 125 to 1,000 micrograms. The 125- or 250-microgram strength is recommended at the start. Your doctor will prescribe a higher strength if necessary. Remember that you must not use more than 2 suppositories in each 24 hours.

Overdosage

No overdose of Caverject has been reported. However, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. The chief symptom of an overdose of Alprostadil would be a prolonged erection. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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