Patients with mild-to-moderate erectile dysfunction (ED) treated with low intensity shockwave treatment (LIST) may retain its benefits for up to 2 years, according to a study.
The study followed 156 patients aged 27 to 81 years with a wide range of ED severity in different clinical studies which used the same LIST treatment protocol (12 treatment sessions in 9 weeks; 5 treatment points along the penis; 1,500 shockwaves applied at 0.09 mJ/mm2 and 120 shocks/min). Treatment efficacy was evaluated using the IIEF-EF (International Index of Erectile Function-Erectile Function) questionnaire at baseline before treatment, then 1, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after treatment.
Of the 156 patients, treatment was successful in 99 patients (63.5 percent) at 1 month after treatment. This declined gradually to 53 patients (34 percent) at the 2-year mark. Subsequent analysis also found that all patients with diabetes mellitus and severe ED at baseline lost any beneficial effects of LIST during their 2-year followup. However, 76 percent of patients with milder forms of ED and without diabetes retained LIST benefits at the same follow-up points.
LIST therapy is a relatively new treatment modality for ED, with several studies demonstrating some short-term efficacy of the technique. LIST has also shown to be effective even in patients with severe ED who are no longer responding to PDE5 inhibitors.
While the mechanism of action is not fully understood, animal studies have shown that the shear stress exerted by shockwave energy induces the release of angiogenic factors and subsequent revascularization, which may improve poor cavernous blood flow—one of ED’s underlying causes.
“The apparent advantages of LIST, which is a non-invasive, non-pharmacological, easy to apply, painless and relatively inexpensive procedure, made it appealing,” said the researchers.