Vitaros (alprostadil) cream

What is Vitaros?

Vitaros (alprostadil) is a prescription-only treatment for erectile dysfunction which was launched in the UK in June 2014. Vitaros comes as a cream in individual applicators - there are four applicators in a pack. Vitaros is an alternative treatment for men who have failed to achieve satisfactory results with tablet treatments (PDE5 inhibitors), or for men who cannot tolerate the side effects of these tablets and who cannot take them for medical reasons.

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What are the key benefits of Vitaros?

The effectiveness of Vitaros has been proved in clinical trials in thousands of men. Improved erections were reported by 52% of men in a 12-week study of 1732 men. In a further nine-month study of 1161 patients, 80% of them reported improved vaginal penetration and 61% reported that Vitaros enabled an erection that lasted long enough to complete sex with ejaculation.

How does Vitaros work?

The active ingredient of Vitaros, alprostadil, has a direct effect on the erectile tissue of the penis to cause the blood vessels to dilate, causing an erection. It takes five to 30 minutes to work and normally lasts between one and two hours after application, but the duration of action will vary from patient to patient.

How to use Vitaros?

It's important to read the enclosed leaflet carefully before using Vitaros.

Vitaros should only be used if prescribed by a registered doctor. The recommended dose is a single applicator full of cream that will provide 300 mcg of the active ingredient. You should not use Vitaros more than once a day or more than two-three times a week. You should use Vitaros five minutes to half an hour before attempting intercourse by following the instructions in the leaflet provided. The cream is applied to the opening of the penis. It is important you do NOT to insert the applicator into the eye of the penis as this can cause local damage and infection.

Vitaros may make you feel dizzy or faint. Do not drive or operate machinery within one to two hours after application.

Vitaros should be stored in the fridge. Unopened containers can be kept out of the fridge for up to three days, after which time the effectiveness of the product may be affected.

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Is Vitaros suitable for me?

Vitaros should not be used at the same time as other medicines to treat erectile dysfunction.

Although not studied, it is possible that Vitaros may have less of an effect when taken in combination with treatments for high blood pressure, decongestants and appetite suppressants. If you are taking drugs to prevent blood clots, do not take Vitaros as there may be an increased risk of bleeding or blood found in the urine. In combination with high blood pressure medication, the use of Vitaros may increase symptoms of dizziness and fainting, especially in the elderly.

Vitaros is unsuitable for men who have underlying disorders such as drop in blood pressure when going from a lying/sitting to a standing position, history of a heart attack, and syncope (dizziness).

Do not use Vitaros if you have been told not to have sex for health reasons such as heart problems or a recent stroke. Vitaros is unsuitable for men who have a condition that could increase the chance of a long-lasting erections or a condition such as sickle cell anaemia or trait, thrombocythemia, polycythemia, multiple myeloma, or leukaemia. If you have an abnormally formed penis, an infection or you are prone to venous thrombosis, it is also unsuitable.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not be exposed to Vitaros, and so a latex condom should be used if your partner is pregnant or breastfeeding or could become pregnant.

What are the side effects of Vitaros?

Vitaros can cause side effects, although not everybody will find they experience them. Common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10 patients) include mild to moderate local aching, burning or pain and redness of the penis, rash, itching, swelling, throbbing and numbness. Your partner may experience mild vaginal burning or itching or vaginitis. Use of a latex condom will remove this side effect.

If you get a long-lasting erection of more than four hours, contact your doctor immediately.

For a full list of potential side effects and other important information, please read the patient leaflet provided in the pack before starting any course of treatment. The leaflet can also be viewed online here.

Convenient and confidential erectile dysfunction consultations are available through the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service.

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