Is Penile Injection Therapy Effective?
Penile Injection Therapy is one of the several alternative approaches to help patients who have erectile dysfunction.
You may be familiar with the more traditional pharmaceutical treatments available which include medications such as Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. Penile injection therapy, as well as vacuum devices, are alternatives that can play a certain role in situations where medications may not be effective or where patients may have significant side effects from some of the medications that they’ve tried.
In these cases, patients are often offered alternative forms of therapy which may include the use of a vacuum device or penile injection therapy.
What is the medicine used in Penile Injection Therapy?
- There are various combinations of medicine used in penile injection therapy with the most common ingredients being Alprostadil, Phentolamine, and Papaverine.
- These medicines cause the blood vessels to the penis to dilate allowing an increased blood flow to the penis causing an erection.
- Penile injection therapy causes a spontaneous erection without the need for sexual stimulation. This is different from Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra where sexual stimulation is needed to cause an erection.
Patients who do not get an adequate erection with alprostadil, or who have pain after injection, may use a combination of papaverine, phentolamine, and alprostadil called tri-mix. This combination is prepared at specialty pharmacies and shipped to your home.
How Is Penile Injection Therapy Performed?
Basically a formulation of medications usually a mixture of several compounds that have properties that create vasodilation or dilation of blood vessels in the penis is formulated.
A small volume of solution is injected directly into the penis usually along this side. You never want to inject on top or on the bottom because there are critical structures in those areas.
Your physician will provide instructions on how to do these injections. The medication is directly delivered into the penile tissues where the medication then has a direct effect on those tissues to stimulate an erection.
The advantage of doing this is that there is much less medication that gets absorbed systemically throughout the body, so we tend not to see certain side effects that you can see with traditional erectile dysfunction medications such as headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, upset stomach, stuffiness or flushing.
These are all common systemic side effects that occur with medications.
Also, the act of doing the injection is a concern for many patients. In reality, it’s similar to a diabetic using insulin.
Are There Side Effects to Penile Injection Therapy?
While we tend not to see these side effects with injection therapy there can be other side effects that occur due to the injection process. There can be bruising along the side of the penis.
As with medication therapy, with injection therapy, you could have an erection that lasts longer than four hours; which would be a medical emergency and you need to bring that to the attention of your physicians. There can be bleeding or something called a hematoma which is a clot formation under the skin.
Some men may not be candidates to undergo injection therapy. These include patients who are on blood thinners for various other medical conditions. Blood thinners can increase the risk of bleeding from injection therapy.
How Effective Are The Injections?
Doctors can prescribe various levels or doses of medications to treat your level of erectile dysfunction. There are multiple formulations or combinations of medications so that if one is not effective, another formulation may work slightly better.
For example, in cases where there has been surgery and there has been damage to the nerves going to the penis, traditional ED medications are not likely to have a significant effect.
However, penile injection therapy, because it does not work through the use of intact nerves may actually still work, even in the absence of solid intact nerves that go to the penile tissues.
They help treat ED by improving blood flow to the penis, which leads to firmer erections. While the thought of injecting a needle into your penis may make you cringe, a 2019 review found that penile injection therapy is generally an effective and well-tolerated treatment for ED.
How long does it take for penile injections to work?
Your penis should swell within five to 15 minutes after injection. It may be erect. However, many men will not achieve an erection until sexual foreplay is started.
How often can you do penile injections?
You can inject up to 3 times a week as long as there are 24 hours between each injection.
How much does penile injection therapy cost?
How Much Do The Injections Cost? Pills for ED cost roughly $20 to $40 per dose. Depending on the compounding pharmacy, Penile Injections could cost as little as $3 to $6 a dose, making it a much less expensive option. The range in cost depends on the dose strength.
So, Penile Injection Therapy for ED is one approach that can be used for patients who have undergone prior surgery and have erectile dysfunction as a result of injury to the nerves and in patients for whom medications are no longer effective or not working or where patients have significant side effects from them.
Read More: Alternative Treatment