Men who suffer with erectile dysfunction may be prescribed drugs like Cialis or Viagra. When medications do not work, however, a doctor may prescribe a different course of action. Intracavernous pharmacotherapy (ICP), also known as a penile injection, is supposed to help those with severe E.D. – like a man recovering from prostate cancer may experience – and is designed to give a man an erection for up to one hour. The most common penile injection drugs on the market are:

  • Caverject Impulse
  • Edex
  • Bi-mix
  • Tri-mix
  • Quad-mix

An alprostadil-based suppository called Muse may also be prescribed; it is injected into the urethra at the opening of the penis, as opposed to the side. All of these drugs are self-administered.

What problems are associated with these drugs?

Any erectile dysfunction drug comes with the warning that men who experience an erection for longer than four hours face developing priapism. There are two categories:

  • Ischemic priapism: the blood is unable to drain out of the penis
  • Nonischemic priapism: too much blood enters the penis

These are painful conditions unlinked to sexual arousal. In either case, the prolonged retention of blood can cause permanent damage to the tissues within the penis. Priapism requires a trip to the E.R., and could result in deformities, infections or even permanent impotence. In some cases, patients may need to seek surgical alternatives in order to achieve an erection.

Who is responsible?

Though many doctors prescribe penile injections only as a “last resort” for men who have either tried other erectile dysfunction drugs without success, or who have suffered through an illness such as prostate cancer, there are those who will prescribe these drugs for patients who may not need them yet. When a doctor prescribes ICP without doing his/her due diligence, the doctor is guilty of medical malpractice. In some cases around the country, the doctor failed to inform the patient about the potential for priapism and directions for what to do if it occurred, and the patients were unable to seek the right treatment. This is another example of malpractice.

Plaxen & Adler, P.A. offers comprehensive legal counsel for medical malpractice victims throughout Maryland. To speak with an experienced Baltimore defective drug attorney about your needs, please contact us.