New strength

Some of the views expressed in the following notes on newly approved products should be regarded as preliminary, as there may have been limited published data at the time of publication, and little experience in Australia of their safety or efficacy. However, the Editorial Executive Committee believes that comments made in good faith at an early stage may still be of value. Before new drugs are prescribed, the Committee believes it is important that more detailed information is obtained from the manufacturer's approved product information, a drug information centre or some other appropriate source.

Caverject (Upjohn)
ampoules containing 5 microgram/mL, 10 microgram/mL and 20 microgram/mL
Indication: erectile dysfunction

Alprostadil is prostaglandin E1. A continuous infusion of prostaglandin has been used to maintain the patency of the ductus arteriosus in neonates with congenital heart defects. As the drug causes vasodilatation, it has been studied in the investigation and treatment of erectile dysfunction.

After the drug is injected into the corpus cavernosa of the penis, most patients will develop an erection within 30 minutes. The dose may need to be adjusted to find the most effective dose for a patient's needs. After appropriate training, the patients can inject themselves with the drug. They should be instructed not to inject themselves with a dose which produces an erection which lasts for more than an hour. Alprostadil should only be used once a day and not more than 3 times a week.

The adverse effects of treatment include penile pain, priapism, haematoma and penile fibrosis.