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Apomorphine for ED: Does It Work?

Kristin Hall, FNP

Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Rachel Sacks

Published 03/08/2023

Wondering about apomorphine for ED? Here’s everything you need to know.

If you struggle with erectile dysfunction (ED), you’ve probably wondered what the best possible treatment could be. And with a wide variety of erectile dysfunction medications available, finding the right one can be tricky.

You may even be curious about a newer treatment for erectile dysfunction called apomorphine. Apomorphine is part of a class of medications known as dopamine agonists — prescription drugs that work by mimicking dopamine, a naturally produced chemical in the brain responsible for pleasure, movement and more.

But is apomorphine for ED an effective treatment? If so, what are the risks and side effects of this medication? Keep reading to learn more about the medication and if you should buy apomorphine for ED.

Apomorphine is a drug typically used to treat Parkinson’s disease, a nervous system disorder that causes difficulty with movement, balance, and muscle control.

This medication is part of a group of drugs known as dopamine agonists, which imitate the effects of dopamine when levels of the neurotransmitter are low.

Dopamine, known as a “feel-good” chemical, is responsible for your brain’s reward processes and pleasure center, as well as movement and more. 

Doing something that feels good triggers a dopamine release, which in turn produces oxytocin. Because of this, you want to repeat the action to feel that dopamine rush again. Sexual stimulation, for example, provides a dopamine rush.

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Research has found that sexual stimulation leading to penile erection is controlled by different areas of the brain and involves several neurotransmitters — one of which is dopamine.

Dopamine has also been found to be part of the process of getting an erection, as well as sexual motivation and arousal.

Research shows there are two major groups of dopamine receptors, D1 and D2, with subgroups responsible for many behavioral and hormonal effects in our body.

Dopamine agonists bind to the D1 and D2 groups of dopamine receptors in the brain, copying the effects of the neurotransmitter. This gives these medications the ability to help your body produce oxytocin and improve disorders that occur from low levels of dopamine.

Apomorphine is a short-acting injectable medication that binds to dopamine receptors and can improve your ability to get an erection. 

It has been approved for the treatment of erectile dysfunction in Europe and also comes as a sublingual tablet that dissolves under the tongue.

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Low doses of apomorphine are effective in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Sublingual apomorphine has been found to take only 20 minutes to be effective, compared to an hour for other oral ED treatments.

Another study comparing the dosage of sublingual apomorphine on over 5,000 patients with erectile dysfunction found that a dose range of 2 to 3 milligrams was most effective, with the least side effects.

Apomorphine does come with some adverse effects — as is the case with any medication. Common side effects of apomorphine include:

  • Nausea

  • Dry mouth

  • Headache

  • Vomiting

  • Tiredness

  • Arm, leg or back pain

In short, apomorphine is an effective treatment for mild or moderate erectile dysfunction, as well as psychogenic ED, which is the inability to get an erection due to psychological reasons.

However, apomorphine isn’t as effective as an erectile dysfunction treatment as PDE-5 inhibitors. Likewise, it hasn’t been as thoroughly tested for tolerability, and there isn’t enough evidence from clinical studies to suggest the correct formulation, dosage, or frequency of use for the average person.

Apomorphine and variations like Apomorphine SL seem to do a good job of restoring sexual function when compared with a placebo. But while clinical trials are promising, other treatments like Viagra®and Cialis® have been tested for adverse events and effectiveness in placebo-controlled studies for decades — apomorphine simply hasn’t been.

It’s common clinical practice for doctors, urologists, and healthcare professionals to try the proven medications first and turn to advanced or newer treatments only after those don’t work.

There are several main types of FDA-approved treatments for male erectile dysfunction:

Our guide to erectile dysfunction treatments goes into more detail about these medications and others like nitric oxide, including how they work.

Treatment options for ED also include lifestyle changes to address medical conditions that may affect your ability to get and maintain erections, like obesity, diabetic complications, or a stressful or sedentary lifestyle.

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If you struggle to get or maintain erections firm enough for sex, you could be dealing with erectile dysfunction, a common form of sexual dysfunction among men. Fortunately, there are several treatments available for the management of erectile dysfunction — one of which is apomorphine.

Here’s what you need to know about this ED treatment:

  • Apomorphine is a type of medication known as a dopamine agonist, which works by imitating the neurotransmitter dopamine.

  • Dopamine is associated with erections and sexual dysfunction in men. Apomorphine, an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, works by mimicking dopaminergic effects and triggering the production of oxytocin.

  • Bear in mind apomorphine is only available by prescription, so you’ll want to talk to your healthcare provider or a urology professional about this as a potential treatment. With their help, you can figure out the best treatment plan for your ED based on your symptoms, health, and other factors.

Connect with a sexual health provider online at Hims today.

5 Sources

  1. Choi, J., Horner, K.A. Dopamine Agonists - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf. (2022, June 27). NCBI. Retrieved from
  2. Apomorphine Injection. (2022, July 15). MedlinePlus. Retrieved from
  3. Dean, R. C., & Lue, T. F. (2005). Physiology of Penile Erection and Pathophysiology of Erectile Dysfunction. The Urologic clinics of North America, 32(4), 379. Retrieved from
  4. Watson, S. (2021, July 20). Dopamine: The pathway to pleasure. Harvard Health. Retrieved from
  5. Giuliano, F., & Allard, J. (2001). Dopamine and male sexual function. European urology, 40(6), 601–608. Retrieved from
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kristin Hall, FNP

Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership. 

She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH

Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare. 

Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.

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