Nitroglycerin and erections

By Serge Kreutz

Some time ago, I saw a press release, dated March 9, 1998, that a company named Direct Response Marketing “has launched Restore, the first ever fully tested, effective topical cream for the safe treatment of male erectile dysfunction (impotence).” Restore was described as “an aqueous-based cream developed from an existing and well tried treatment for angina which acts as an effective vasodilator. The formulation is 1% nitroglycerine combined with emulsifiers, stabilizers and preservatives and is effective within minutes of application of achieving an erection of up to 45 minutes duration.”

I talked to a pharmacist and then bought some Angised tablets (Glaxo Wellcome). These are glyceryl trinitrate (which is but another name for nitroglycerin) tablets for sublingual administration in the treatment of acute attacks of angina pectoris.

Mind you, so-called poppers (amyl nitrate, butyl nitrite, isobutyl nitrite) started out as medication for attacks of angina pectoris. And sildenafil citrate was tested as a heart drug before it was discovered that it had such a pronounced effect on the plumbing of the male sexual organ. Another medication that is available for heart problems, mostly of neonates, prostaglandin E1, is also used as a drug for men suffering from erectile dysfunction.

That heart medications potentially are effective treatments for erectile dysfunction is no coincidence. Many heart problems have to do with too little oxygen getting there. Heart emergency medications therefore primarily strive to dilate blood vessels supplying the heart. And for erections to occur, a dilation of blood vessels supplying the sex organ is precisely what is needed.

I first pulverized two .5 mg tablets of Angised and mixed the powder well with an ointment base (actually just Nivea cream). Obviously, I first wanted to test my tolerance, so I really used just a little, applied to the most precious part of my body. As I had no negative reaction, I used the whole 1-milligram dissolved in the Nivea cream.

I seemed to have a good tolerance for the nitroglycerin ointment. Even when I applied the whole 1-milligram ointment, there was no negative reaction. Unfortunately, there was also no positive reaction. And no erection.

The next day I decided to go all out testing nitroglycerin as an erection medication. I mixed four pulverized Angised tablets (2 milligram) into my Nivea ointment base, and applied it all at once. Now, that did have an effect. Just not the desired one. But I can clearly state that transdermal nitroglycerin does work. It also works rather fast. But applying it to the genitals doesn’t mean that it works on the genitals. Regardless of whether used as sublingual medication or as ointment applied to the genitals, the effect is on the whole body.

Nitroglycerin ointment definitely widens blood vessels. I could tell when I looked into the mirror. The blood vessels on my forehead became rather swollen. This even got me worried. And it caused me a headache.

Certainly, the whole course of events did nothing to bring me into the mood, or into the condition, for sexual intercourse. I don’t intend to experiment with nitroglycerin again, and I see no reason why anybody else should.

By no means should nitroglycerin medications be combined with sildenafil citrate.

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Claes H. · Baert L. (1989) Transcutaneous Nitroglycerin Therapy in the Treatment of Impotence. Urologia Internationalis Vol.44, No. 5 https://doi.org/10.1159/000281528

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