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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Painful or prolonged erection (lasting more than four hours), usually as a result of excessive dosage. If erection does not resolve on its own in a reasonable amount of time, seek medical help promptly. If erection does resolve on its own, subsequent doses should be reduced; consult your doctor for specific guidelines.
Common

Pain, itching, or burning at site of injection.
Less Common

Bruising or bleeding at site of injection.
Alprostadil Injection


Drug Class:
Vasodilator

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Injection

Why Prescribed
To treat erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men; also, to help maintain adequate blood flow in infants during heart surgery.

How It Works
Alprostadil causes dilation of blood vessels, thereby increasing blood flow to the tissues supplied by the vessels affected by the drug. When injected into the penis, alprostadil causes the penile arteries to dilate, thus promoting erection.

Range and Frequency
For adult men: Injection of 0.001 to 0.04 mg, self-administered at the base of the penis as needed. It should not be administered more than once a day. For infants: Injection of 0.005 to 0.01 mg before surgery.

Onset of Effect
Five to 10 minutes.

Duration of Action
30 minutes to three hours.

Dietary Advice
Diet is not significant in alprostadil therapy.

Storage
Keep the liquid form of alprostadil refrigerated, but do not allow it to freeze.

Missed Dose
Not applicable; the drug is taken only when the patient chooses.

Stopping the Drug
Consult your doctor if you wish to discontinue therapy or if you feel alprostadil is losing its effectiveness.

Prolonged Use
Alprostadil should not be used more frequently than a physician recommends, which is generally not more than three times a week, with at least 24 hours between each dose. Patients who self-administer alprostadil should visit their doctor every three months for evaluation; dosage adjustments or the decision to stop using the drug will be made at these times. Never increase the dosage without consulting your doctor.

Over 60
Information about use specifically in older persons is not available, though elderly patients are more likely to suffer from circulatory problems and thus may be less responsive to the drug than their younger counterparts. Your doctor may need to adjust the dosage.

Driving and Hazardous Work
No special precautions are necessary.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Not applicable; the drug is used only in men and infants. No problems have been reported in women who became pregnant by partners using alprostadil.

Breast Feeding
Not applicable; the drug is used only by men or in infants.

Infants and Children
Prostin VR Pediatric should be used for infants only in a hospital setting.

Special Concerns
Your doctor should instruct you on how to administer the injection of alprostadil before you attempt to do it yourself. Only men who have been diagnosed with and are being medically treated for erectile dysfunction should use this drug as a sexual aid.

Overdose Symptoms
Painful erection or erection that persists for more than four hours.

What to Do
Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or your local hospital right away. Prolonged erection may result in permanent damage to the tissues of the penis and the inability to achieve subsequent erections.

Drug Interactions
None reported in infants. Adults should notify their doctor if they are taking any other drugs.

Food Interactions
No significant interactions have been reported.

Disease Interactions
An adult who has a blood coagulation defect, liver disease, sickle cell disease, or a history of priapism (erections lasting more than four hours) should inform his physician before using alprostadil.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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