In a nutshell
This study analyzed the results of 14 studies to examine the effectiveness of low-intensity shock wave therapy (LIST) for erectile dysfunction. Authors concluded that LIST can significantly improve erectile function.
Low-intensity shock wave therapy (LIST) has recently been introduced as a new therapeutic approach for erectile dysfunction. LIST allows for an increase in penile blood flow by delivering low-intensity (non-harmful) shock waves to the penis. These are believed to stimulate the formation of new blood vessels, which is important in achieving an erection. LIST is an alternative treatment option for men who do not respond to, or tolerate, drug therapy with phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors, such as sildenafil (Viagra). More high-quality studies are needed to examine its effectiveness for erectile dysfunction.
Methods & findings
The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of LIST in treating erectile dysfunction.
The results of 14 separate studies were pooled into a single analysis. A total of 833 men with erectile dysfunction were included. 7 studies randomly assigned men to be treated with either LIST or with a placebo procedure involving no active treatment. In the other 7 studies, all men included received treatment with LIST. Changes in erectile function were measured with a questionnaire.
2 studies did not find a significant benefit of LIST on erectile function at 1 month. However, the remaining studies reported significant improvements at 3 months. Overall, LIST was found to be able to significantly improve erectile function and the hardness of the erection.
Further analysis showed that men with mild erectile dysfunction were more likely to benefit from LIST than men with moderate or severe erectile dysfunction. Men with fewer additional medical conditions showed better outcomes than those with many other medical conditions.
Studies that delivered LIST at lower intensities, over more pulses, and across shorter treatment courses (less than 6 weeks) were associated with the greatest overall improvements in erectile function. Combined usage of PDE5 inhibitors with LIST was also found to improve treatment outcomes.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that LIST can significantly improve erectile function.
The fine print
Studies that examine the benefit of LIST over longer study periods are needed to confirm these results. One of the authors is affiliated with the manufacturers of LIST devices.
Published By :
Jun 16, 2016
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