Novel Treatments of Erectile Dysfunction: Review of the Current Literature

Sex Med Rev. 2021 Jan;9(1):123-132. doi: 10.1016/j.sxmr.2020.03.005. Epub 2020 Jul 4.


Introduction: Although available treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED) have expanded, there has been a concomitant shift in the treatment paradigm. Newer treatment options focus on disease modification and improving overall erectile function.

Objective: The objective of this study is to review the evidence of 3 promising novel ED treatments.

Methods: A thorough review of the literature was divided into sections corresponding to low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy (Li-ESWT), stem cell therapy (SCT), and platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Search terms included "erectile dysfunction" or "ED" plus "extracorporeal shockwave therapy", "stem cell therapy" or "platelet rich plasma". International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) scores were the primary outcome measure. Secondary outcome measures included peak systolic velocity and intracorporeal pressure.

Results: Li-ESWT section includes 1 randomized controlled study, 2 prospective studies, 1 animal study, and 2 meta-analyses. IIEF score improvement was 3.54 (range 1.99-6.40). Authors concluded statistically significant short-term effect and improvement in erectile function (EF) with Li-ESWT. SCT section included 4 case series and 1 open-label study. Intraperitoneal, venous, and cavernosal SCT injections improved EF in animal models. 3 studies (n = 6-8) demonstrated 83-100% and 29-50% of patients regained erection and penetration ability, respectively. 2 studies (n = 12-16) found that all patients improved IIEF scores after SCT. Literature review for PRP yielded 3 animal, 1 retrospective, and 1 prospective study. Animal studies have shown that rats sustaining crush cavernosal injuries treated with PRP significantly improved EF and preservation of cavernous nerve axons. One retrospective analysis on humans showed mean improvement by 4.14 in IIEF scores. One prospective study on humans (n = 75) demonstrated improved peak systolic velocity (P = .005) and IIEF scores (P = .046) with PRP therapy.

Conclusions: This review reveals limited published evidence on current novel ED treatment options. Further research on Li-ESWT, SCT, and PRP therapy is necessary to elucidate the role of these therapies in ED treatment regimens. Raheem OA, Natale C, Dick B, et al. Novel Treatments of Erectile Dysfunction: Review of the Current Literature. Sex Med Rev 2021;9:123-132.

Keywords: Erectile Dysfunction; Low-Intensity Shockwave; Platelet-Rich Plasma; Stem Cell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Erectile Dysfunction* / therapy
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Penile Erection
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rats
  • Retrospective Studies