It is estimated that one in ten men suffers from erectile dysfunction, better known as impotence. Triggers are both physical and mental disorders, with the proportion of organic causes being much larger at around 70%.
A penile erection occurs as a result of chemical reactions in the body when a man becomes sexually aroused. These chemical reactions cause the muscle walls near the penis to relax, allowing enough blood to flow to the penis to make it erect. If the blood flow is blocked, for example by diseases such as high blood pressure, erectile problems may occur.
Active ingredients such as alprostadil accelerate the biological processes that are necessary for an erection and support the relaxation of the muscle walls. This improves blood flow in the penis and creates a lasting erection.
What is Alprostadil?
Alprostadil is a synthetically produced active ingredient that resembles the body’s own substance, prostaglandin E1 (PGE1).
Due to its blood circulation-promoting and vasodilating effects, it is used, among other things, in newborns with congenital heart defects to maintain the ductus arteriosus Botalli. In the form of an infusion, it improves the oxygen supply and thus the baby’s ability to survive until surgical treatment is possible.
Also in the form of infusions, alprostadil is used to treat chronic arterial occlusive disease stages III and IV.
Since 1986, alprostadil has also been used to treat erectile dysfunction (impotence), as it causes the penis to become erect by expanding the blood vessels and relaxing the muscles in men.
Oral drugs such as Viagra or Cialis are usually prescribed first. If there is no effect here, alprostradil is the first choice.
The advantage of alprostadil is that it works reliably and quickly with few side effects. The active substance is introduced directly into the erectile tissue of the penis or into the urethra by the patient. The correct dosage and application must be determined in advance with the attending physician and may only be changed by him.
There are two methods for using alprostadil, MUSE and SKAT, which are explained in more detail below.
Key data on Alprostadil
Brand names: MUSE, Caverject, Vitaros, etc.
Active ingredient: alprostadil
Drug class: prostaglandins
Dosage form: cream, gel, injection
Prescription required: prescription required
What drugs with alprostadil are there?
Alprostadil is available as a solution for injection and as a urethral stick.
The injection solution is usually mixed at home and then injected into the erectile tissue of the penis with a syringe. For this reason, this method is known as erectile tissue auto-injection therapy, or SKAT for short.
The urethral stick, like MUSE (Medicated Urethral System for Erections), is placed in the urethra with a plastic applicator and dissolves there.
The main drugs with alprostadil are Caverject, Viridal, MUSE, and Vitaros. The respective manufacturer, a definition, the application and the costs are now briefly explained.
Caverject, marketed by Pfizer Pharma, is an injectable treatment for erectile dysfunction. Caverject comes in two different forms, both of which have the same effect.
The Caverject Vials pack consists of an ampoule with the powdered active substance alprostadil, a syringe with the mixed solution, and two types of needles. With the larger needle, the liquid is filled into the ampoule with the powder. The smaller needle is used to inject the finished solution into the cavernous body.
The Caverject Impulse two-chamber syringe is already assembled and takes effect when the chambers are mixed together.
The remedy works within 5–20 minutes. Very specific instructions apply to Caverject: the treatment must not be used more than once a day and no more than three times a week. Depending on the dose, 2 syringes cost 85.89 euros.
Viridal is a drug that belongs to the SKAT group and is therefore injected directly into the penis. It is manufactured by the German company Schwarz Pharma.
Viridal is a syringe that consists of two chambers. The anterior chamber contains a white powder, and the posterior chamber contains a clear, colorless solution. A stamp mechanism ensures that both agents connect with each other. After a short time, the drug can be injected into the erectile tissue of the penis.
The application works within 5 to 15 minutes. The treatment should not be used more than once every 24 hours and no more than three times a week. With regular use, a check-up by the doctor should also be carried out every three months. Depending on the dose, 2 injections are available for 121.39 euros.
MUSE (Medicated Urethral System for Erections) is manufactured by Meda Pharma and is a urethral suppository that is administered directly into the tip of the penis.
The suppository is inserted into the urethra with the help of a plastic applicator. The active substance then reaches the erectile tissue via the blood vessels. The relaxation of the muscle cells causes more blood to flow into the penis and an erection occurs.
The remedy works within 5 to 10 minutes. The advantage of MUSE is that no needles are needed, making it easier to use than an injection. It is therefore a good alternative to pills to be taken orally. Depending on the dose, a pack of 6 applicators costs around 240.45 euros.
Vitaros is a cream marketed in Germany by Hexal and in the UK by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. This makes Vitaros one of the non-invasive treatment methods.
With the help of an applicator, the cream is applied to the opening of the urethra on the glans of the penis. The active substance, alprostadil, is absorbed by the skin and enlarges the blood vessels in the body. It causes the blood vessels in the penis to constrict so that the blood stays in the penis and an erection occurs.
The application works within 5 to 30 minutes. Despite the ease of use, the treatment should not be used more than once every 24 hours and no more than three times a week. From 157.19 euros, 4 applicators are available.
Experiences with alprostadil
The experience of the users of such drugs is more important than the theoretical mode of action, possible side effects, or possibilities of acquisition.
Alprostadil is an active ingredient that effectively helps with erectile dysfunction. In a survey, users rated the effectiveness at 8 out of 10 points.
The drugs are particularly well tolerated, with hardly any side effects. The users gave it 9 out of 10 points.
The application is first discussed with the attending doctor before the preparations are used at home. Therefore, an application that initially sounds more complicated is not that difficult in the end and is rated at 7.5 out of 10 points.
There are compromises in the price/performance ratio since the drugs are relatively expensive and cost at least 40.00 euros per application. Users give it 5 out of 10 points. Despite these high costs, users recommend the active ingredient alprostadil with 8.5 out of 10 points.