Erectile Dysfunction Injections: Caverject vs Alprostadil
Dealing with erectile dysfunction is not easy, but fortunately, there is a number of effective ways to address erectile problems which are currently available to everyone. The most popular method of battling ED is by using medications, which is not surprising given the “user-friendliness”, efficacy, and safety of such treatments.
While taking ED medicines orally is surely the most widespread practice, there is also an alternative: injecting the drug straight into the penis. This might sound uncomfortable, but of course, there are certain advantages to this ED drug “delivery” method that make up for the inconveniences.
In this article, you will find out more about Caverject and Alprostadil, see them compared side-by-side, and learn about the adverse effects of these medicines. In addition, the My Canadian Pharmacy experts also rounded up some of the best alternatives to erectile dysfunction injections for those men who find the idea of a needle in their penis too scary to even try Caverject or Alprostadil.
What is Caverject?
Caverject is a branded medication that is commonly used to address erectile dysfunction. However, your healthcare provider might also find it appropriate to prescribe you Caverject to treat other conditions. In some cases, Caverject is also used by doctors to facilitate the conduct of tests required for the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction.
Caverject comes in form of powder which has to be mixed with a special solution for injections before it can be used. The dosage prescribed to every individual patient varies depending on a number of factors, such as age, general health, severeness of ED symptoms, etc. The starting dosage of Caverject is usually less than or equal to 60 micrograms. This number comes from a clinical study where the researchers observed a significant improvement in the sexual performance of those subjects who received a 60 micrograms injection of Caverject. Increasing the dosage lead to relatively insignificant improvement and is not recommended by healthcare professionals despite the fact that injections of up to 140 micrograms of Caverject are generally safe.
Before you start using Caverject, you have to make sure that it is safe for you to do so. Thus, do not neglect to schedule a meeting with a trusted medical practitioner to discuss your erectile problems and ways of addressing them. If you are inclined to use Caverject, your doctor will conduct a thorough inspection of your medical history, as well as assess the current state of your health and well-being. If he finds that it is safe for you to receive Caverject injections, he will give you a prescription for the medicine and explain how to administer it properly.
What Is Alprostadil?
Alprostadil is the name of the main active component in Caverject, and it is simultaneously the name for another ED drug – the generic form of Caverject. Generic drugs are pharmaceuticals which are produced according to the original formula of a branded medication (Caverject, in this particular case). However, they are not produced by the original drug developer and cannot be advertised by using the attributes of the branded drug, such as the name, pill color and size, packaging color and other easily recognizable and distinctive features. By avoiding the costs that come with drug formula research and testing, as well as the significant expenses associated with marketing a pharmaceutical, third-party manufacturers manage to produce high-quality generic drugs (Alprostadil, in this particular case), which imitate their branded analogs in efficacy and safety, but lack the distinctive image associated with a branded drug.
It is only up to you to decide on whether you prefer Caverject or Alprostadil, but bear in mind that while Caverject already is cheaper than most oral ED medications (including generic ones), Alprostadil still beats it regarding the price/quality ratio. This does not mean that you are compromising your health if you choose Alprostadil because both medications are perfectly safe and effective. Bear in mind that both these ED drugs require a prescription to be obtained, so make sure to consult your healthcare provider about ED and get a prescription for your medicine of choice.
Unlike Caverject, Alprostadil is also available as a solution for injections, so you don’t have to mix the powder with the solution. This might be convenient for people who don’t have a medical background, so they have less “medical” operations to perform and worry about. In addition, Alprostadil can be obtained in form of urethral suppositories, which is a decent alternative to injections if you are willing to wait for the medicine effect to kick in (it generally takes longer as compared to ED injections).
Caverject Side Effects
Caverject is a rather safe medication, but of course, similarly to most other pharmaceuticals, it also has some side effects. Some of these adverse effects are not dangerous, and they generally do not require any medical attention. These side effects often appear as an initial reaction of the body to the new medicine. As the body adjusts to the impact of the drug (usually takes up to 2 weeks), these adverse reactions should become less frequent and may even disappear completely. These “safe” Caverject side effects include:
- facial flushing
- muscle pain
- skin rash
Another group of common adverse reactions to Caverject includes more dangerous side effects which could require professional medical help to be alleviated. They are as following:
- penile pain
- urethral pain
- localized bleeding
- burning sensation in the urethra
- blood pressure changes
- heart rate changes
- changes in vision (blurry vision, color perception changes)
Bear in mind that while all of these side effects are classified as “common”, your chance to experience them still is lower than 25% (it lies between 10% and 15% for most adverse reactions mentioned above).
Finally, there is a third group of Caverject side effects which are far less common (experienced by less than 1% of all patients and study subjects), but could do serious damage to your sexual and general health if left unattended. Seek professional medical help immediately if you experience the following symptoms after using Caverject:
- signs of a urinary tract infection (unusual urine color, frequent desire to urinate, painful urination, pain in the abdominal area, fever, exhaustion)
- signs of a cardiovascular disorder (chest discomfort, nausea, pain in the left side of the body, dizziness, exhaustion, unusually loud snoring, irregular heartbeat, persistent cough, sweating, swollen joints)
- priapism (a medical condition in which an erection lasts longer than 4 hours, becomes painful, and will not go away on its own)
- injection site infection or inflammation
This list of Caverject side effects is not an exhaustive one, so you may experience other side effects which are currently unlisted. If you do, you might want to report your experience to the drug developer so that it can be registered and added to future revisions of drug information sheets if needed.
Alprostadil Side Effects
Being the generic form of Caverject, so basically having the same active component, Alprostadil generally has the same side effects as Caverject. However, due to the availability of Alprostadil as urethral suppository, Alprostadil has several more adverse effects which are specific to the application method: burning sensation in the urethra, urethral infection, urethral inflammation, local bleeding.
Instructions for Erectile Dysfunction Injections
If you have already decided to use Caverject or Alprostadil to address your ED symptoms, you will need to learn as much as possible about the injection mechanics so that you can perform the task quickly and with minimum discomfort. Alternatively, if you are still thinking whether penile injections are the right method for you, you would probably still need to find out more about the injection process to figure out whether you are ready to try it or not. Thus, My Canadian Pharmacy experts have rounded up some “rules” and tips for a successful penile injection in this section of the article.
First of all, make sure that everything you are using is sterile. The syringe you are using has to be new (you can reuse it later, but only with the same medication), the needle also has to be new and has to be replaced after every injection to avoid infection. Use an alcohol swab to disinfect the area of the penis where you are going to insert the needle. Do not use the solution that has run out past its expiration date, and make sure that it is stored properly once you have opened it (the general rule is storing the bottle in the fridge; it can only stay in room temperature for three hours after having been opened).
Choosing the right spot for the injection is one of the most important things you can do to make sure that the injection does not cause any complications. The rule of thumb here is aiming for the corpus cavernosum – the sponge-like tissue in the penis that becomes filled with blood during an erection. This is roughly the “3 and 9 o’clock” positions. You might choose to alternate between these two, or you could also go for the 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock positions to avoid bruising and discomfort from frequently injecting the same spots. Medical practitioners strongly recommend to avoid penetrating areas where the blood vessels are clearly visible under the skin.
Once you have chosen the injection site, you will need to insert the needle. Bear in mind that it has to go in at a 90 degree angle to make sure that you do not puncture the urethra. You should feel a certain amount of resistance when you insert the needle, but if there is too much resistance, you might want to take the needle out and try again in a different spot. The needle has to be fully inside the penis before you actually start to inject the medication because it has to reach the corpus cavernosum and not just stay under the skin. This procedure obviously causes discomfort, but you can make it easier tolerable by using topical anaesthetics, some which are even available over-the-counter. Alternatively, thinner gauge needles can be used to reduce the discomfort from the injection, but healthcare providers agree that this might be dangerous due to higher chances of needle breakage with small gauge needles (gauge 30 and smaller).
Some men prefer to use auto-injectors, which are simple devices that insert the needle automatically. Auto-injectors are spring-operated, so all you have to do is fill them with the medicine, choose the injection spot and place the injector on it. Pressing the button will make the needle “spring out” from the injector quickly, thus reducing both the actual discomfort from the injection and the psychological tension and hesitation associated with actually piercing the skin and inserting the needle further. Such auto-injectors are fairly easy to use and can be obtained in your local pharmacy without a prescription.
If you are still unsure as to how to perform a penile injection, you can use this video as a reference and visual aid:
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