Erectile dysfunction (ED), or sexual impotence, is a common experience for men over the age of 40. It can lead to anxiety and a lack of self-confidence, which only makes matters worse. For those men struggling to achieve or keep a penile erection, it can be an embarrassing topic to discuss.
While most people assume that Viagra is the magic blue pill that solves impotence, it may not be right for everyone. There are other options to treat erectile dysfunction that offer great results. We take a look at one such product, Caverject, to see whether it is up to the job.
What is Caverject?
Caverject is a prescription-only medicine that treats erectile dysfunction in adult men. It is a brand name for alprostadil, a synthetic form of Prostaglandin E1 that allows muscles to relax and, as a consequence, increase blood flow to the penis.
It is administered via injection to the corpus cavernosum (penis shaft) and can have a potent effect, with erection reached within 15 minutes. No sexual stimulation is needed to achieve this result.
Used as a ‘third-line’ medication behind lifestyle changes and oral products such as Viagra (a brand name for sildenafil), Caverject will only be prescribed when these medications have failed. It is also a viable alternative for ED sufferers who have a spinal injury or have had prostate surgery and cannot achieve erection.
How does it work?
Though we won’t get too “sciencey” here, let us bring your attention to the villain of this piece, the troublesome enzyme Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5). During sexual intercourse, this enzyme accepts and breaks down the chemical Cyclic Guanosine Monophosphate (cGMP) that is key to blood vessel dilation in the penis and erection.
Blocking PDE-5, through “first-line” inhibitors such as sildenafil and alprostadil, increases blood flow to the penis and leads to a stronger erection. Caverject rides to the rescue when these inhibitors have been unsuccessful in achieving erection. This could be for various reasons – like surgery, incorrect dosage or simply that they had no effect on the individual. The human body is a complex machine!
The difficulty with oral medication for erectile dysfunction is that, unlike Caverject, it is not localised. The method of injecting into the corpus cavernosum is a faster, more reliable way to achieve penile erection.
It sounds very painful!
Though we acknowledge that it does not sound fun to have a needle anywhere near your manhood, let us dispel some fears. Firstly, the needle used to administer Caverject is small, so the discomfort is brief and minimal. It is inserted when the penis is flaccid, so is no more painful than a flu jab or blood donor injection.
Caverject can also be administered via topical application, with its cream variant being massaged into the corpus cavernosum. The product is also available in suppository form, although it should be noted that the injectable dose has been found to provide the most successful results.
Caverject is a single-dose, pre-filled application and can be used a maximum of three times in one week. Erection is achieved within 5 to 20 minutes and should last for around one hour. We call that a rapid response!
Your clinician might suggest that you are trained by them to administer the drug yourself. You should only do this when you are confident of how to do it. If not, refer back to your clinician.
What about side effects?
Most people understand that all medication carries a small risk of adverse reaction. However, it is a natural concern that, with Caverject packing a powerful punch, the risk might be higher. Fortunately, since 1995, when it was licensed in the USA as the first prescription drug for male impotence, the only common side effects have been mild pain and minor bruising around the needle area.
This is usual for any injection into human skin, so you can relax and enjoy your private time. The ability to unwind prior to sexual intercourse is important, as erectile dysfunction may have had a debilitating effect on the user. Finding a treatment that is as reliable, fast and effective as Caverject will have a joyous effect and it may take individuals some time to get used to it!
Playing your part
Caverject is no different to any other medication, in that a healthy lifestyle increases its chances of success. Alcohol intake, smoking tobacco and the lack of regular exercise all contribute to an unhealthy physical condition. If your body is not in good shape, erectile dysfunction can be a result. After all, if you won’t help your body, why should it help you at your time of need?
Psychological turmoil can also have an adverse effect, with common disorders like depression and stress responsible for many cases of male impotence. Guilt is particularly relevant, due to shame over not being able to satisfy one’s partner. Caverject can remove this anxiety and return your private life back to where it should be.
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