What is Vitaros?

Vitaros is a cream for erectile dysfunction. It is administered directly to the opening of the urethra at the end of the penis.

How does Vitaros work?

Vitaros uses the active ingredient alprostadil (also known as prostaglandin E1, or PGE1), which is a vasodilator.

Erectile dysfunction is caused by tightened blood vessels, restricting blood flow to the penis. Vasodilators dilate these blood vessels, so that blood can flow to the penis more easily.

How long does Vitaros take to work?

The topical application means that the active ingredient can get to work quickly and help the user to obtain an erection within 5-30 minutes.

How long do the effects of Vitaros last?

Usually for between one and two hours after application.

However, if you have an erection that lasts longer than four hours you should seek immediate medical attention.

Who makes Vitaros?

Vitaros is manufactured by Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

What doses of Vitaros are available?

Vitaros is supplied in preloaded applicators containing 100 mg of medication. It is available in two strengths: 200 mcg and 300 mcg.

How often can I use Vitaros?

You should only ever use one dose in any 24 hour period, and only two to three doses within any one week. Always use it according to your prescriber’s instructions.

Is a prescription required to buy Vitaros?

Yes. You cannot currently purchase any ED medication without a prescription in the UK.

This is because a doctor must assess the suitability of Vitaros prior to providing a prescription for it.

What makes Vitaros different?

Vitaros is currently the only topical cream licensed to treat ED. The non-invasive application method may appeal to some men, and it may work in some cases where oral treatments have not produced a response.

Read more about the differences between Vitaros and other ED treatments.

Can women use Vitaros?

No. Vitaros is only suitable for men with ED.

It is suggested that a condom is used by the male if the female partner is of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because the effects of the drug on pregnancy have not been studied.

What are the common side effects of Vitaros?

All medications can cause side effects and Vitaros is no different.

The majority of side effects associated with Vitaros are said to be limited to the area of application. For instance, men may experience pain in the genital area, a rash, a burning sensation or inflammation. It’s also normal for the penis to feel quite full for a short time following use.

Please refer to the patient information leaflet for a complete list of potential side effects.

Is it safe to use Vitaros?

The safety profile of Vitaros has been tested in clinical settings, and it has proven to be a safe treatment for men with ED.

However, no medication is suitable for everyone. Men with certain conditions or using other medications may be advised not to use it. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure.

Can I use Vitaros if I don’t have ED?

Vitaros is only indicated for patients diagnosed with erectile dysfunction.

Most men will experience some level of erectile dysfunction during their lifetime, whether it is fleeting or persistent.

In clinical terms, erectile dysfunction is defined as the persistent inability to achieve and maintain an erection suitable for satisfactory sexual intercourse.  

Vitaros should not be used by men who do not have ED, looking to enhance their sexual performance.

Is Vitaros inhibited by food and drink?

Food and drink should not interfere with the efficacy of Vitaros.

However, alcohol can affect erections regardless of Vitaros use, so it is advisable to keep consumption with sensible limits.

Will Vitaros interact with my other medications?

This depends on the medication that you are taking. Your doctor will need to assess your medication profile to check for any contraindications. It is important to always disclose all treatments you are using, whether they are prescription, over-the-counter or remedial.

Vitaros should not be used in combination with other ED treatments.

The effects of Vitaros may be lessened when taken in conjunction with high blood pressure treatments, decongestants or medicines used in appetite suppression.

Can I buy generic Vitaros?

No. There is no generic version of Vitaros licensed in the UK at time of writing, although there are other treatments, such as MUSE and Caverject, which contain the same active ingredient.

Can I get Vitaros on the NHS?

Some men can, yes.

As we’ve written elsewhere, men with certain conditions may be able to get Vitaros on an NHS prescription.

Otherwise though, men looking to use Vitaros will require a private prescription for it.

How can I buy Vitaros?

You can buy Vitaros online or in person, but in any case, you will need a prescription.

This can be issued by a practising doctor, following assessment of a patient (again either in person, or through a registered online doctor service).

If you are looking to purchase Vitaros online, it is crucial to ensure you’re using a registered pharmacy. Look for the GPhC logo, and check the pharmacy’s entry on the council website.

Page last reviewed:  10/12/2018