In the course of treatment for erectile dysfunction, some men may be treated with penile injections. This method involves men injecting medications directly into the penis,instead of taking a pill like Viagra. This is the most direct route, and a very effective treatment for ED. In general, obtaining medication to do this type of injection is different than obtaining other prescriptions.
Penile injections for ED
Commercially available injectables include Edex and Caverject, and some insurances may cover them. However, most plans do not cover them, and they can be very expensive, from $50-$100 per dose! Obtaining the same medications from a compound pharmacy reduces the cost significantly, bringing it to $8-$20 per dose, depending on the type of medication, dose used, and compound pharmacy.
When I mention ‘compound pharmacy’ most men have never heard of it. Typical pharmacies sell only medications that are ‘pre-packaged’ and sold ‘as-is.’ Compound pharmacies are different. From the FDA website, “a licensed pharmacist, combines, mixes, or alters ingredients of a drug to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient.” This allows us to tailor the strength and even combine 2, 3 or 4 medications, increasing the efficacy or potency of the compound solution.
In the Seattle area, a online search for compound pharmacy yields a few different results. We have worked with most of the pharmacies listed, and all of them have at least a couple of commonly used compounds readily available. Prescribing injections that are not part of that pharmacies ‘usual compounding’ results in a higher price, because each unique solution requires quality testing. Each pharmacy will also have a different price often for similar compounds. It pays to do some research, and some men find using an online compounder is the most convenient.
It is important to note that the medications that go ‘into’ a compound are FDA approved, but once compounded into a solution, it is NOT FDA approved. This type of prescribing is called ‘off-label’ and in general is safe, however quality can vary. I encourage everyone to read this information from the FDA about compound pharmacies.