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Symptom Management

Side Effects of Treatment
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Self-Injection of Medication for Erections

Description Medication has been prescribed for you to enable you to have an erection. This medication can be used no more than twice a week. This medication is injected into the side of the penis when you are ready to have an erection. The erection develops in 8 to 10 minutes and can last for 30 to 90 minutes. This medication will not interfere with orgasm or ejaculation.

Learning Needs You will learn to give yourself an injection and identify side effects of the medication. Ways to take care of those problems will be explained to you.


1. Assemble equipment:

  • medication bottle
  • syringe and needle
  • alcohol swab

2.Wash your hands with soap and water. Dry your hands thoroughly.

3. Prepare the medication. Using the syringe and needle (30-gauge, 1/2 inch [13mm]) provided you, with draw the prescribed amount of medication into the syringe.

4. Select the site of injection along the left or right side of the penis where there are no veins. It is important to alternate the areas where you inject the medication.

5. Wipe the site of the injection with an alcohol swab for 1 minute.

6. Grasp the penis firmly and stretch the skin taut by pulling the penis forward. You may lay the penis against the thigh.

7. Insert the entire length of the needle at a 90-degree angle; the needle should not be leaning forward or back toward you.

8. Slowly inject the entire amount of medication into the penis.

9. Withdraw the needle and apply pressure to the injection site with a cotton ball or clean gauze for approximately 30 seconds or until the bleeding stops.

Management There are some side effects that the injection of this medication can cause. You need to watch for:

  • Bleeding at the site of the injection:
    Apply pressure to the injection site until the bleeding stops.
  • Pain or numbness at the tip of the penis:
    This is a temporary effect that goes away in 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Flushing or dizziness:
    Lie down for 5 to 10 minutes or until the symptoms subside. Call your doctor if the flushing or dizziness lasts longer than 20 minutes.
  • Extreme bruising or swelling:
    Firmly compress the entire penis with your hand for 10 minutes and do not perform self-injection again until instructed by your doctor.
  • Prolonged erections, lasting longer than 4 hours:
    Call your doctor or go to the emergency room of your hospital.
  • Scars or areas of tenderness on the penis:
    Call your doctor for an examination.

Follow-up Be sure you understand what to expect and what to do should problems occur. Notify your nurse and/or doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Flushing or dizziness lasting more than 20 minutes.
  • Extreme bruising or swelling.
  • Prolonged erection, lasting longer than 4 hours.
  • Scars or areas of tenderness on the penis.

If you are unsure of any of the instructions, be sure to clarify them with your doctor or nurse.

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2004 2nd Cancer Opinion USA