Objective: The Food and Drug Administration (USA) approved the transurethral administration of prostaglandin (alprostadil in January 1997), which had an efficacy of approximately 50% in clinical trials. We studied its effectiveness in clinical practice.
Methods: Patient and partner education was followed by an initial office trial of a medicated urethral system for erection (MUSE) after other medical risk factors were corrected during a 2- to 4-month period. The initial titration dose of alprostadil was usually 125 or 250 microg. Further titration, if needed, was instituted by the patient at home. Success was determined as the satisfactory completion of sexual intercourse in more than 66% of attempts, with a minimum of two being required.
Results: Two hundred and seventy patients entered the trials, and follow-up information was available in 229 (85%). The overall success rate was 56%. The dose required was 500 microg in 49.2% and 1,000 microg in 42.2%. Of the 44% in whom treatment failed, 61.4% did so because of lack of efficacy and 38.6% because of side effects (genital pain or urethral bleeding). Minor urogenital symptoms, which did not interfere with treatment, occurred in an additional 40% of patients.
Conclusions: The efficacy of transurethral administration of alprostadil (56%) is higher than the initial published clinical trial data and higher than recent reported clinical experiences, although higher doses were required in our study. Men over 50 years of age, having an organic cause for erectile dysfunction, had better responses. Patient and partner education is important for successful treatment, and the in-office initial titration is an integral part of this success. Prior correction of medical risk factors may enhance the success rate.