Article Abstract

Peyronie’s disease: contemporary review of non-surgical treatment

Authors: Laurence A. Levine


Background: Peyronie’s disease (PD) remains a therapeutic dilemma for the treating physician. This is in spite of a large array of treatments which have been used since the time of de la Peyronie in the mid 18th century. Part of this problem is due to an incomplete understanding of the etiopathophysiology of this scarring disorder. Having a better understanding of the how and why the scarring occurs may help prevent progression, but ultimately reversing the existing scar remains the real challenge.
Methods: This review discusses the current non-surgical treatment options for Peyronie's disease. Published articles in peer-reviewed journals are used, recognizing that the majority of the published trials are compromised by being single-center studies without a placebo control.
Results: A variety of treatments options have emerged, most with limited and unreliable benefit, but a few treatments have shown a consistent albeit incomplete response rate. Could this suggest that all PD is not the same and that the heterogeneous nature of this scarring disorder may account for why some patients respond and others do not? Further investigation of this diverse response rate may yield insights into the pathophysiology of PD. In the meantime, there have been many oral treatments offered for PD. Currently the only scientifically sensible treatments appear to be pentoxifylline, L-arginine, and possibly the phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors. Intralesional injection has been used for many years. The current treatment options include verapamil and interferon, with reported benefit with respect to reduced deformity and improved sexual function. Intralesional clostridial collagenase is in the midst of phase 3 trial analysis by the FDA in the USA and may become the newest and only FDA approved treatment for Peyronie’s disease. External mechanical traction therapy has also recently emerged as a technique to reduce curvature, recover lost length, enhance girth, and possibly obviate surgery.
Conclusions: It appears at this time that there is no clear, reliable and effective non-surgical treatment for Peyronie’s, but it does appear from the published literature that several of the available treatments can result in reduction of deformity, improved sexual function, and may at a minimum stabilize the disease process so that deformity does not get worse particularly during the acute phase of this scarring disorder. Combination therapy in an effort to create a synergy between the chemical effects of oral and injectable drugs with the mechanical effects of external traction therapy may provide the best opportunity today for reduction of deformity in the man with Peyronie's disease.


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