A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the erectile response to transurethral alprostadil

Urology. 1996 Dec;48(6):851-6. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(96)00428-1.


Objectives: Previous studies have indicated that the urethra may provide an effective route for administering vasoactive medication for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of alprostadil administered intraurethrally at home for the treatment of this disorder.

Methods: This prospective, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the erectile response to randomly assigned doses of transurethral alprostadil at home in 68 men with long-standing (mean 41 months) erectile dysfunction of primarily organic etiology. Patients completing the study each administered a random sequence of four different doses (125, 250, 500, and 1000 micrograms) and placebo over a 2 to 4-week period. Assessments included the couples' ability to have intercourse, patient ratings of erectile response by both categorical and visual analogue scales, penile volume measurements, and overall assessments of comfort and ease of administration.

Results: Overall, 75.4% (49 of 65) of study patients achieved full enlargement of the penis and 49.2% (32 of 65) achieved an erection judged by the patient to be sufficient for intercourse. In addition, 63.6% (42 of 66) of patients reported intercourse. Efficacy was similar across etiologies. The most common side effect was penile pain, which occurred in association with 9.1% to 18.3% of alprostadil administrations, depending on dose. Mean comfort ratings ranged from 79 to 87, depending on dose, where 0 = severe discomfort and 100 = comfortable; ease of administration scores were above 90 for each dose, where 0 = difficult and 100 = easy. There were no episodes of priapism in this study.

Conclusions: Short-term treatment with transurethral alprostadil produced erections resulting in sexual intercourse in most patients with chronic erectile dysfunction. This therapy may be a useful treatment option for patients with erectile dysfunction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alprostadil / administration & dosage*
  • Alprostadil / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Administration
  • Urethra
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Vasodilator Agents / adverse effects


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Alprostadil