Peyronie's Disease (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

How is Peyronie's disease treated?

Men with Peyronie's disease usually seek medical attention because of painful erections, penile deformity, or difficulty with intercourse. Because the cause of Peyronie's disease and its development are not well understood, doctors treat the disease empirically; that is, they prescribe and continue methods that seem to help. The goal of therapy is to restore and maintain the ability to have intercourse. Providing education about the disease and its course often is all that is required. No strong evidence shows that any treatment other than surgery is universally effective. Experts usually recommend surgery only in long-term cases in which the disease is stabilized and the deformity prevents intercourse.

Because the course of Peyronie's disease is different in each patient and because some patients experience improvement without treatment, medical experts suggest waiting 1 year or longer before having surgery. During that wait, patients often are willing to undergo treatments whose effectiveness has not been proven.

Medical Treatments

Researchers conducted small-scale studies in which men with Peyronie's disease who were given vitamin E orally reported improvements. Yet, no controlled studies have established the effectiveness of vitamin E therapy. Similar inconclusive success has been attributed to aminobenzoate potassium (Potaba). Other oral medications that have been used include colchicine, tamoxifen, and pentoxifylline. Again, no controlled studies have been conducted on these medications.

Researchers have also tried injecting chemical agents such as verapamil, collagenase, steroids, and interferon alpha-2b directly into the plaques. Verapamil and interferon alpha-2b seem to diminish curvature of the penis. The other injectable agent, collagenase, is undergoing clinical trial and results are not yet available. Steroids, such as cortisone, have produced unwanted side effects, such as the atrophy or death of healthy tissues. Another intervention involves iontophoresis, the use of a painless current of electricity to deliver verapamil or some other agent under the skin into the plaque.

Radiation therapy, in which high-energy rays are aimed at the plaque, has also been used. Like some of the chemical treatments, radiation appears to reduce pain, but it has no effect on the plaque itself and can cause unwelcome side effects such as erectile dysfunction. Although the variety of agents and methods used points to the lack of a proven treatment, new insights into the wound healing process may one day yield more effective therapies.


Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Peyronie's Disease - Possible Causes Question: If known, what do you think was the cause of your Peyronie's disease?
Peyronie's Disease - Seeking Treatment Question: What treatment, if any, have you received for your Peyronie's disease?
Peyronie's Disease - Signs and Symptoms Question: What signs and symptoms did you experience prior to a diagnosis of Peyronie's disease?

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!