Recovery of erectile function by the oral administration of apomorphine

Urology. 1995 Feb;45(2):200-6. doi: 10.1016/0090-4295(95)80005-0.


Objectives: Apomorphine has been reported to be effective in causing erections in animals and man when administered parenterally. The side effects, notably nausea, have seriously limited its clinical usefulness. We formulated apomorphine for controlled sublingual absorption and herein report on four preliminary studies evaluating efficacy and side effects in men with no documentable organic cause of erectile dysfunction.

Methods: Patients complaining of erectile dysfunction underwent a careful evaluation. Those with measurable organic dysfunction or known organic factors were excluded. Men with primarily psychogenic impotence were tested with one of four protocols of an apomorphine preparation (preliminary sublingual liquid, preliminary 5 mg tablet, aqueous nasal spray, and new 3 and 4 mg controlled absorption tablets). The erectile response of these men to the drug with visual erotic or sexually neutral stimulation was studied with the Rigiscan.

Results: Seven of 10 evaluable patients responded to the sublingual liquid preparation but the majority experienced significant nausea. The preliminary 5 mg tablet and aqueous forms did not produce useful responses free of side effects. The newly formulated controlled absorption 3 and 4 mg tablets were tested in 12 men. Eight of 12 (67%) developed erections in response to apomorphine. Erectile activity was seen during sexually neutral visual stimulation to a significantly greater extent than with placebo. Home trial use was found to be successful and sustained by 7 of 11 (64%) patients.

Conclusions: We have shown that apomorphine will act as an erectogenic agent when absorbed through the oral mucosa. In a carefully selected group of impotent patients with no documentable organic causes of erectile dysfunction, but with proven erectile potential, 67% will experience significantly durable erections with a dose of 3 or 4 mg of apomorphine when formulated for controlled absorption. The results in these small groups appear to justify larger clinical studies of this proprietary formulation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Sublingual
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Apomorphine / administration & dosage*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Erection / drug effects


  • Apomorphine