Sexual Health Q&A

What are some nonsurgical treatments for Peyronie’s disease?

Men who are in the “active” stage of Peyronie’s disease, when the condition is still progressing, may choose nonsurgical treatments. Such treatments could include the following:

Intralesional Therapy. In some cases, medication is injected directly into the plaques themselves. Verapamil and interferon are two such substances, which are hypothesized to stop the development of collagen, the protein from which the plaques are made. They are also suggested to help “remodel” the scar tissue, making the plaques smaller as the area heals. However, there are conflicting reports regarding the efficacy of these therapies in the treatment of Peyronie’s disease.

In December 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of an injectable medicine called Xiaflex to treat Peyronie’s disease in the United States. Xiaflex is given in a treatment course of four cycles by a healthcare professional.

Injections of hyaluronic acid might eventually be another option. This substance has been found to reduce inflammation. It is sometimes used to treat patients with osteoarthritis.

In 2016, the journal Sexual Medicine published the results of a pilot study involving 65 men with Peyronie’s disease. The men received hyaluronic acid injections once a week for ten weeks. Two months after treatment, plaque size had decreased in over half the men.Penile curvature was reduced by an average of 10 degrees and many men reported better erections and improved sexual satisfaction.

Treatment with hyaluronic acid still needs more research, however. The study authors explained that larger, placebo-controlled trials are necessary to learn more about the “real impact” of this therapy. Apparently, more research is required to elucidate whether this therapy is a viable option for patients with Peyronie’s disease.

Traction. This technique involves wearing a special device designed to straighten the penis. This device pulls the penis straight. Wearing the traction device between six and nine hours a day (with thirty minute breaks every two hours) appears to have the best results, according to recent research. Traction therapy may also help restore some lost penile length. Apparently, more research is required to elucidate whether this therapy is a viable option for patients with Peyronie’s disease.

Vacuum Erection Devices (VEDs). VEDs are sometimes used by men with erectile dysfunction (ED). But there are some studies demonstrating that it might also help men with Peyronie’s disease. To use a VED, a man places a clear plastic cylinder over his penis. The cylinder is connected to a pump, which, when activated, creates a vacuum. Once an erection has formed, a constriction ring is placed at the base to keep it strong for whatever duration is needed.

At the May 2014 meeting of the American Urological Association, scientists from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center presented their findings on the use of traction therapy and VEDs in rats. After inducing Peyronie’s disease, they divided the rats into three groups. One group received traction therapy. Rats in the second group were treated with VEDs. The third group received no treatment.

After eight weeks, the scientists found that the rats who received traction therapy had less curvature than those in the other two groups. The rats who had VED therapy had better erectile function.

The scientists concluded that a combination of traction and VED therapy could help men with Peyronie’s disease. However, well-designed clinical trials are required to confirm this hypothesis.