President and CEOOfficers of the CorporationBoard of TrusteesLeadership CouncilHistory
Managing DiabetesChildhood DiabetesNutritionExerciseOnline Diabetes ClassesDiscussion BoardsInfo for Healthcare ProfessionalsJoslin Clinical Guidelines50-Year Medalist Program
Adult ClinicPediatricsEye CareBillingInfo for Healthcare ProfessionalsDiabetes Information & Resources
Clinical Research50-Year Medalist Study
Media RelationsNews ReleasesInside JoslinSocial Media
Affiliated CentersPharma & DeviceCorporate EducationPublicationsProfessional EducationInternational
Give NowGet InvolvedEventsTributes & Special OccasionsCorporate & Foundation EngagementLegacy GivingWays to GivePhilanthropy TeamPublications

Sexual Dysfunction - Treatment Options - Local Therapies

Several local therapies are options for treating impotence in men:


A man can insert pellets of Prostaglandin E1 (known as alprostadil and marketed as MUSE) about an inch into the penis tip with a pre-filled applicator. The resulting erection lasts 30 to 60 minutes. While this therapy doesn't work for all men, it's generally successful in 60 percent of men with diabetes who try it. Common side effects include aching or burning in the penis and surrounding region, and minor bleeding.

Injection therapy

Using a small needle, a man can inject the shaft of his penis with a drug such as alprostadil, which causes the penile blood vessels to engorge with blood and produce an erection. While this treatment usually works, the idea of a penile injection does not appeal to all men. Prostaglandin E1 (Caverject manufactured by Upjohn, and Edex manufactured by Schwarz) is the only chemical approved by the FDA for use in the penis. However, these products do not appear to be as effective in treating erectile dysfunction caused by diabetes as other injection therapies available. They also can have undesirable side effects, such as persistent erection (priapism) and scarring.

Page last updated: September 19, 2019