Apricus Biosciences Inc. said that its impotence drug Vitaros has been approved in 10 European countries. The company said Vitaros is now approved in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, and the U.K., among other countries, for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
The active ingredient in Vitaros, alprostadil, is an ingredient in other approved impotence treatments and Apricus is also studying it as a treatment for female sexual arousal disorder.
Prostaglandin E1 (PGE1), known pharmaceutically as alprostadil, is a prostaglandin. It is a drug used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and has vasodilatory properties.
Patent ductus arteriosus
Alprostadil is also used in maintaining a patent ductus arteriosus in newborns. This is primarily useful when there is threat of premature closure of the ductus arteriosus in an infant with ductal-dependent congenital heart disease, including cyanotic lesions (e.g., pulmonary atresia/stenosis, tricuspid atresia/stenosis, transposition of the great arteries) and acyanotic lesions (e.g., coarctation of the aorta, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, critical aortic stenosis, interrupted aortic arch).
Alprostadil is sold in the United States as urethral suppositories and in injectable form. The suppositories are sold under the brand name MUSE. The injectable forms are Edex and Caverject. Muse delivers alprostadil as a penile suppository, inserted into the urethra, at least ten minutes before the erection will be needed. Caverject and Edex are similarly fast-acting, but instead are injected by syringe directly into the corpus cavernosum of the penis.
Apricus Biosciences is developing proprietary drugs; Vitaros for men with erectile dysfunction, Femprox for female sexual arousal disorder and RayVa for Raynaud’s phenomenon. Two Phase III studies have been completed for Vitaros, and approval has been granted in Canada. Apricus Biosciences is seeking regulatory approval in Europe, South America, and other territories. Apricus Biosciences sold the rights for Vitaros in the US to Warner Chilcott.
Alprostadil is also available as a generic. The major cost is that it must be mixed by a compounding pharmacy and supplies of alprostadil may be difficult to obtain. There are different formulations, including Bimix and Trimix, which may include papaverine and/or phentolamine. A typical mix might be 30 mg of papaverine, 2 mg of phentolamine, and 20 mcg alprostadil. As a generic, it is much less expensive than the pre-packaged injectables. It is premixed and must be kept refrigerated and the user must load a syringe with the quantity needed.
Critical limb ischemia
Alprostadil is also used for critical limb ischemia. It increases blood flow by peripheral vasodilation within 5 minutes and induces angiogenesis. It is most effective when the ankle pressure is at least 30 mmHg and at least one tibial artery is patent.
- Cawello W, Leonhardt A, Schweer H, Seyberth HW, Bonn R, Lomeli AL (September 1995). “Dose proportional pharmacokinetics of alprostadil (prostaglandin E1) in healthy volunteers following intravenous infusion”. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 40 (3): 273–6. PMC 1365109. PMID 8527291.
- Harding LM, Adeniyi A, Everson R, Barker S, Ralph DJ, Baranowski AP (December 2002). “Comparison of a needle-free high-pressure injection system with needle-tipped injection of intracavernosal alprostadil for erectile dysfunction”. International Journal of Impotence Research 14 (6): 498–501. doi:10.1038/sj.ijir.3900916. PMID 12494285.
- “Muse Suppository – Facts and Comparisons”. Drugs.com. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- Edex – Facts and Comparisons Drugs.com
- Caverject – Facts and Comparisons Drugs.com
- Fain Hughes (2007-10-29). “NEXM: Dutton Sees Strong Speculative Buy and 12-Month Price Double”. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
Prostaglandin E1 (alprostadil, PGE1) erectile dysfunction drug, molecular model. PGE1 is a prostaglandin used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
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