Home A-E Alprostadil – Common Uses and Side Effects

Alprostadil – Common Uses and Side Effects

Alprostadil is used to temporarily maintain the patency of the ductus arteriosus in newborns with congenital cardiac abnormalities who are dependent on the patent ductus for survival, it is employed as palliative therapy rather than as a definitive treatment. It is used to treat erectile dysfunction in adults caused by neurogenic, vasculogenic, psychogenic, or combined etiologies.


Brand Names

Caverject, Edex, Muse, Prostin Vr

How Does it Act

Alprostadil prevents or reverses the functional closure of the ductus arteriosus (DA), which happens soon after birth, by having a direct effect on the smooth muscle of the vasculature and ductus arteriosus (DA). This is due to the fact that it affects blood flow in a variety of ways as a type of prostaglandinE1 (PGE1).

Infants that experience this have higher pulmonary or systemic blood flow. Alprostadil’s activities boost the tissue’s oxygenation in cyanotic congenital heart disease. Alprostadil allows blood flow through the DA from the pulmonary artery to the aorta, maintaining distal aortic perfusion in neonates with an interrupted aortic arch or very severe aortic coarctation.

Alprostadil decreases aortic obstruction in babies with aortic coarctation by either relaxing ductus tissue in the aortic wall or by enlarging the effective aortic diameter by dilatation of the DA. These aortic arch defects in babies lead to enhanced systemic blood flow to the lower body, which enhances tissue oxygenation and kidney perfusion.

Alprostadil operates locally to relax the trabecular smooth muscle of the corpora cavernosa and the cavernosal arteries whether given as an intraurethral suppository or as an intracavernosal injection. When arterial blood rushes into the corpus cavernosum to expand the lacunar gaps, the penis swells, lengthens, and becomes hard. As the sinusoids press against the tunica albuginea, the trapped blood decreases the venous blood outflow.


  1. For palliative therapy to temporarily maintain the patency of the ductus arteriosus until corrective or palliative surgery can be performed in neonates who have congenital heart defects and who depend upon the patent ductus for survival.
  2. For the treatment of erectile dysfunction due to neurogenic, vasculogenic, psychogenic, or mixed etiology.

Side Effects

If you have any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction: hives, trouble breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat, seek emergency medical attention. Mild pain in the testicles, urethra, or penis is a common adverse effect as well as penile redness, warmth, or burning. Side effects from your sex partner could include burning, itching, or discomfort in body parts that come into contact with your penis.


People with the following medical conditions should take caution with the use of Alprostadil; sickle cell anemia or the sickle cell trait, leukemia, a tumor of the bone marrow (multiple myeloma), a curved or deformed penis, penile fibrosis or Peyronie’s disease and people with a penile implant.


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