Objective: We evaluated the current evidence for the use of acupuncture to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).
Methods: Systematic searches were conducted in 15 electronic databases, with no language restrictions. Hand-searches included conference proceedings and our files. All clinical studies of acupuncture as a treatment for ED were considered for inclusion, and their methodological quality was assessed using the Jadad score.
Results: Of the four studies included, one randomized controlled trial (RCT) showed beneficial effects of acupuncture compared with sham acupuncture in terms of response rate, while another RCT found no effects of acupuncture. The remaining two studies were uncontrolled clinical trials. Collectively these data showed that RCTs of acupuncture for ED are feasible but scarce. Most investigations had methodological flaws, e.g. inadequate study design, poor reporting of results, small sample size, and publication without appropriate peer review process.
Conclusion: The evidence is insufficient to suggest that acupuncture is an effective intervention for treating ED. Further research is required to investigate whether there are specific benefits of acupuncture for men with ED.