Other Names


papaverin, papaverina, papaverine

Substance type: opium alkaloid

Papaverine is a component of opium (0.3 to 0.80/0)

and was named after the genus Papaver (cf. Papaver

somniferum). Papaverine has very weak psychoactive

properties but is a powerful vasodilator.

Effective dosages start at 200 mg. An extract of

Nuphar lutea has similar effects.

In recent years, papaverine has been used to

treat impotence, often with good success (Mellinger

et al. 1987). When used for this purpose, the substance

is injected directly into the corpus cavernosum

when the penis is flaccid (so-called SKAT

therapy; cf. Ernst et al. 1993). Among the problems

that this method may cause are painful priapism

(persistent erections for up to thirty-six hours

without sexual arousal!) and inflammation of the

penis (Sanders 1985).

Commercial Forms and Regulations

The substance, available as papaverine hydrochloride,

is sold in suppository form and in

solution for injection. Papaverine is available only

with a prescription.

See also the entries for Papaver somniferum and

opium alkaloids.

Ernst, Gunter, Hans Finck, and Dieter Weinert. 1993.

Dem Manne kann geholfen werden. Munich:


Mellinger, Brett C., E. Darracott Vaughan, Stephen L.

Thompson, and Marc Goldstein. 1987.

Correlation between intracavernous papaverine

injection and Doppler analysis in impotent men.

Urology 30 (5): 416-19.

Porst, H. 1996. Orale und intracavernose

Pharmakotherapie. TW Urologie Nephrologie 8

(2): 88-94.

Sanders, Kevin. 1985. 30-Stunden Erektion.

Penthouse 4/85:65-68, 196, 200.

Schnyder von Wartensee, M., A. Sieber, and U. E.

Studer. 1988. Therapie der erektilen Dysfunktion

mit Papaverin-21h Jahre Erfahrung. Schweizer

medizinische Wochenschrift 118 (30): 1099-1103.

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