MUSE for erection problems


Generic Name Brand Name
alprostadil MUSE

MUSE stands for "medicated urethral system for erections." The medicine is a small pellet that is inserted inside the opening at the end of the penis (urethra). The applicator has a thin tube that contains the pellet of medicine. The tube is inserted into the urethra. By pressing a button on the applicator, you release the pellet. The medicine is absorbed through the membrane that lines the inside of the urethra. An erection develops in about 10 minutes and lasts at least 30 minutes, but usually less than 60 minutes.

See a picture of MUSE (transurethral therapy).

Your doctor may have you try this medicine while you are in the office. This allows the doctor to see how well the medicine works, see whether you can properly use the medicine, and check for adverse reactions, such as a painfully long-lasting erection (priapism) or an allergic reaction.

How It Works

The medicine relaxes the muscles in the surrounding blood vessels of the penis, increasing the blood flow into the penis. This allows an erection to occur. The medicine is inserted into the penis before sex. How well it works depends on how much medicine is inserted.

Long-term use of MUSE may improve a man's ability to have erections, particularly in men whose erection problems have psychological causes.

Why It Is Used

This medicine may be prescribed for erection problems (erectile dysfunction) that are caused by psychological or physical problems, or both. Short-term use may help increase confidence in men whose erection problems are psychological.

How Well It Works

This medicine is effective, but how well it works depends on the dose you use. More than 6 out of 10 men had successful intercourse at least once using a higher dose of MUSE. But smaller doses had smaller percentages of positive results.1

Side Effects

Side effects of MUSE are usually minor and may include:

  • Pain. About one-third of men complain of mild to moderate urethral ache, which causes some men to discontinue use.1
  • Mild injury to the urethra, such as a small scrape that produces a drop of blood at the tip of the urethra.
  • Low blood pressure (uncommon).

The MUSE system does not cause bruising or scar tissue, like injections may.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

When considering MUSE, it is important to include your partner in your decision.

This medicine is less likely to be effective in men whose blood flow into or out of the penis is severely impaired.

Partners of men who have vision problems or who may have difficulty inserting the pellet can be taught how to use these products.

This medicine can be used by men who are taking medicine to prevent blood clots (anticoagulants), such as warfarin [Coumadin, for example]).

The medicine may cause irritation to the vagina of the man's partner when he ejaculates.

When you use this medicine, your partner should avoid performing oral sex.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Tharyan P, Gopalakrishanan G (2006). Erectile dysfunction, search date August 2006. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence. Also available online:

Last Updated: May 21, 2008

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