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Updated 11 February 2013

Apomorphine

Apomorphine is used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, but works differently to drugs such as Viagra and Cialis.

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Apomorphine is the active ingredient of Uprima.

General information

Apomorphine is a derivative of morphine, but does not actually contain morphine. It has a chemical structure that is reminiscent of dopamine.

Apomorphine is used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, but works differently to drugs such as Viagra and Cialis. Tablets for the treatment of erectile dysfunction are placed under the tongue 20 minutes prior to intercourse. This dose may be repeated after 8 hours.

It is a potent emetic, meaning that it stimulates the vomiting centre in the brain, so the first few doses should not be given without an anti-nausea tablet. In veterinary medicine, this emetic action is exploited to induce vomiting in dogs that have ingested toxins.

Apomorphine is also effective in treating Parkinsonism and heroin addiction, but is not widely used for this purpose in South Africa.

How does apomorphine work?

Apomorphine treats erectile dysfunction by enhancing the effect of dopamine in the part of the brain that mediates erection.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 4

Available as: Tablets

What does it do? Apomorphine is used to treat erectile dysfunction

Overdose risk: High

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? No

Available on prescription only ? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 20 minutes

Duration of action: Up to 2 hours

Stopping this medicine: This medication can be safely discontinued when no longer needed

Prolonged use: Apomorphine is not generally used for prolonged periods. No problems are known with prolonged use.

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have kidney or liver disease,
  • you have heart disease,
  • you have high or low blood pressure, and
  • you are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid use

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children.

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how it affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it may affect sexual performance negatively

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Nausea/ vomiting

x

X

Diarrhoea

x

X

Constipation

x

X

Headache/ dizziness

x

X

Cough/ sore throat

x

X

Paleness/ flushing

x

X

Yawning

x

x

Taste disturbance

x

X

Fainting

x

X

Shortness of breath

x

X

Chest pain

x

X

Confusion

x

X

Painful erection

x

x

Priapism

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

Nitrates

Risk of fall in blood pressure

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have kidney or liver disease, heart disease or if you have high or low blood pressure

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include breathing problems, slow heartbeat and loss of consciousness.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 2-3mg dissolved under the tongue 15-25 minutes prior to intercourse. The dose should not be repeated within 8 hours

Interesting fact

In the early 20th century apomorphine was used for the psychiatric treatment of homosexuality.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 
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