Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Erectile dysfunction health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Alprostadil to treat erectile dysfunction

Alprostadil is a synthetic hormone treatment for erectile dysfunction that works by stimulating blood flow to the penis.

Alprostadil can be given by injection into the penis, as a cream applied to the tip of the penis, or by a small pellet placed in the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis).

An erection should occur in around 5 to 15 minutes after using alprostadil.

The duration of the erection will depend on the dose prescribed.

Who should not take alprostadil?

This medicine is not recommended for every man with erectile dysfunction. Tell your doctor:

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to alprostadil.
  • If you are allergic to any other substances such as medicine, 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 (unusually prolonged erection).

Also, tell your doctor if you have any medical problems, especially:

  • Abnormalities of the 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 leukaemia ( cancer of the blood), sickle cell disease or trait, or thrombocythaemia (large number of platelets).
  • Peyronie’s disease

If alprostadil is not safe for you to take, your doctor can recommend other treatment options that are appropriate based on your health and medical history.

When using the pellet or cream form of alprostadil, use a condom if having sex with a woman who is able to become pregnant or who is already pregnant because the effects of this medicine on early pregnancy are unknown.

How do I know which method of delivery is right for me?

It’s a personal choice that should be made with the help of your doctor and your partner. There are pluses and minuses of each mode of delivery. Your doctor will talk you through these.

What are the side effects of alprostadil?

Possible side effects with alprostadil include:

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 08, 2014

Men's health newsletter

Tips to be strong and healthy.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

rash on skin
Soothe skin and prevent flare-ups
woman blowing nose
Myths & facts about allergies
cold sore
How to cope with cold sores
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
man administering eyedrops
Taking on eye allergies
palm tree and beach
How to make it less stressful
woman exercising
Exercises for low back pain
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning for a healthy home
mother and child
Could your baby be allergic to milk?
pregnant woman eating healthy salad
Nutrition needs before pregnancy