Background: Animal studies postulate that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections improve key elements of the pathophysiologic mechanisms leading to erectile dysfunction (ED).
Aim: To conduct the first double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial assessing the efficacy and safety of PRP injections in patients with mild and moderate ED.
Methods: Sixty sexually active patients with mild and moderate ED were randomly assigned to two sessions, with a one-month difference, of 10 mL PRP (n = 30) or placebo (n = 30) intracavernosal injections. An FDA-approved separation system was used. Patients were evaluated at 1, 3 and 6 months after completion of the treatment protocol. A per-protocol analysis was applied. All participants withheld any ED treatment during the trial.
Outcomes: The achievement of minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in the International Index of Erectile Function - Erectile Domain (IIEF-EF) from baseline to 6 months after final treatment. Erectile function at all time points, as well as safety of PRP injections, were also evaluated.
Results: At 6 months, a MCID was achieved by 20/29 (69%) patients in the PRP group compared to 7/26 (27%) in the placebo group. The risk difference between the two groups was 42% (95%CI: 18-66), P < 0.001 and the baseline-adjusted mean between-group-difference in the IIEF-EF score was 3.9 points (95%CI: 1.8-5.9). Similarly, a statistically significant difference of both the number of participants attaining a MCID and the IIEF-EF score was also observed at the 1- and 3-month evaluation between the two groups. Accordingly, patients receiving PRP were more satisfied with the treatment. No adverse events were observed during the study period.
Clinical implications: Intracavernosal PRP injection therapy used as outlined in this trial appears to be a safe and effective short-term treatment for the management of mild to moderate ED.
Strengths & limitations: We conducted the first clinical trial exploring the role of PRP in the management of ED. Conversely, our findings lack external validity due to single-center design. Furthermore, our results cannot be extrapolated to other PRP separation systems.
Conclusions: PRP intracavernosal injections may be a promising addition to the urologist's armamentarium for the management of ED. Still, further high-quality studies are warranted to corroborate our findings. Evangelos P, Mykoniatis I, Pyrgidis N, et al. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Improves Erectile Function: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. J Sex Med 2021;18:926-935.
Keywords: Erectile dysfunction; Erectile function; PRP; Platelet-rich plasma; Randomized controlled trial.
Copyright © 2021 International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.