What Is Phentolamine?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2019
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Phentolamine is a generic medication commonly marketed under the brand names Regitine® and OraVerse™. It is an alpha blocker that is often used to increase blood flow and lower high blood pressure by relaxing the arteries. Some patients may use it before a certain type of surgery. Phentolamine may also be used in combination with other drugs to treat erectile dysfunction. A dentist may also inject it into soft tissues to reverse an anesthetic and restore tactile sensation.

When phentolamine is used prior to surgery or after a dental anesthetic, a health care professional will inject the drug. Patients who are using it for erectile dysfunction will be shown the proper injection method so that they can administer it at home. Before use, the injection site must be carefully disinfected with alcohol. A new needle must be used every time.

The needle should be inserted in the base of the penis slowly. Those who experience severe pain or bruising are likely injecting phentolamine improperly. They should take the needle out for repositioning. Once the injection is complete and the needle is withdrawn, the patient should use his thumb to apply pressure to the injection site. He must also perform the massage demonstrated by his doctor in order to distribute the medicine evenly for best results.


After the injection, phentolamine takes about 10 minutes to begin working. Patients should not wait longer than two hours before intercourse. No more than one injection may be used daily for a total dose of 0.5 to 1.0 milligrams (mg). Patients must not use the drug longer than two days in a row. The maximum number of injections weekly must not exceed three.

Some side effects may occur immediately following the injection, which should be reported to the doctor if they become bothersome. Men may notice tingling or mild burning of the penis. Tingling is to be expected and is not alarming. The patient may also have trouble ejaculating. Bruising or bleeding may also occur at the injection site.

Serious side effects from phentolamine are rare, but should be reported to the doctor immediately if they occur. Men may suffer from a painful erection or an erection that lasts longer than four hours. Lumps may also be found in the penis. Some patients have experienced dizziness.

Before using phentolamine, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. As of 2011, it is unknown whether this drug may pass into breast milk. Women who are pregnant should avoid the medicine. Patients with stomach ulcers should consult the physician. This drug may interact with other medicines, including tadalafil, bisoprolol, and timolol.


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