Performance and safety of treatment options for erectile dysfunction in patients with spinal cord injury: A review of the literature

Luca Afferi, Jürgen Pannek, Arthur Louis Burnett, Cedric Razaname, Stamatina Tzanoulinou, Wojciech Bobela, Rodrigo Araujo Fraga da Silva, Mikael Sturny, Nikos Stergiopulos, Julian Cornelius, Marco Moschini, Christophe Iselin, Andrea Salonia, Agostino Mattei, Livio Mordasini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: For a large proportion of patients with spinal cord injury, sexuality and reproduction are important issues. However, sparse data exist regarding available treatment options for this patient population. Objectives: We sought to review performance and safety rates of all currently available treatment options for erectile dysfunction in spinal cord injury men. Materials and methods: A systematic literature review without time restrictions was performed using PubMed/EMBASE database for English-, Italian-, German-, and Spanish-language articles. Articles' selection was performed according to the PRISMA guidelines. Relevant papers on erectile dysfunction in spinal cord injury patients were included in the final analyses. Results and Discussion: Overall, 47 studies were eligible for inclusion in this review. Of these, most evidence dealt with phosphodiesterase 5-inhibitors and intracavernous drug injection. Both treatment options are associated with high levels of performance and with patients/partners' satisfaction; side effects are acceptable. Overall, penile prostheses and vacuum erection devices are in general less approved by spinal cord injury patients and are correlated with increased rates of complications in comparison with phosphodiesterase 5-inhibitors and intracavernous drug injection. Sacral neuromodulation, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and intraurethral suppositories have been poorly studied, but preliminary studies did not show convincing results. Conclusion: The best treatment options for erectile dysfunction in spinal cord injury patients emerged to be phosphodiesterase 5-inhibitors and intracavernous drug injection. The choice of erectile dysfunction treatment should be based on several aspects, including residual erectile function, spinal cord injury location, and patients' comorbidities. Future studies assessing the applicability of less well-studied treatments, as well as evaluating innovative options, are needed in this specific population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1660-1673
Number of pages14
JournalAndrology
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020

Keywords

  • erectile dysfunction
  • intracavernous injection
  • penile prosthesis
  • phosphodiesterase 5-inhibitors
  • spinal cord injury
  • vacuum erection device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Urology

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