Peyronie’s Disease (PD), a condition in which a man’s erect penis has a significant bend that is more noticeable than what is normal, may now have a nonsurgical treatment option called XIAFLEX available to urologist’s trained to diagnosis and treat PD. While there have been other treatments for PD (other medications, steroids, surgery), XIAFLEX is the first and only FDA-approved nonsurgical treatment available. This prescription medication is used to treat adult men with PD who have “plaque” that can be felt and a curve in the penis greater than 30 degrees at the time of treatment.
What is Peyronie’s disease and what causes it?
Peyronie’s disease is when scar tissue or plaque forms in the penis. It can occur at any age but men over the age of 40 are who it affects the most. A thick, elastic membrane called the tunica albuginea is where the plaque builds up inside the tissues of this membrane. Either the top or bottom of the penis is the most common areas where plaque buildup occurs.
The plaque that forms is not the same type of plaque that develops in a person’s arteries. It not associated with heart disease, is noncancerous, noncontagious and is not caused by a sexually transmitted disease.
This condition is estimated to affect between 1 to 23 percent of men from ages 40 to 70. It is rare in young men and is more likely to appear as a man ages.
It is not completely understood what causes Peyronie’s disease. Some possible reasons could include the following:
- An injury to the penis such as being bent during sex. Vigorous sex can cause microscopic tears to the penis
- A chronic or repeated injury to the penis
- Autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks certain areas of the body’s cells and organs
- A family history of the disease
How does XIAFLEX work?
Every man with PD will need a medical examination by a trained urologist to determine if XIAFLEX is right for them. Men, who qualify meeting the requirements to use XIAFLEX to treat PD, will be asked to follow the two-step treatment plan:
- A series of three in-office injections with XIAFLEX directly into the scar tissue causing the penis to curve
- At-home stretching and straightening. Men will need to perform gently penile stretching and straightening activities at home.
Between the in-office injections and gentle stretching and straightening of the penis, will enhance the success rate of XIAFLEX to reduce erectile curvature.
Like with all medications, it will be very important for men to follow all instructions on using XIAFLEX as there can be serious side effects for men who should not use this medication:
- Allergic reaction to certain ingredients in XIAFLEX
- Penile fracture or other serious injury to the penis. Injections into the penis may cause damage to the tubes in the penis called the corpora. After treatment with XIAFLEX, one of these tubes may break during an erection. Symptoms of a corporal rupture or other serious injury to the penis may include:
- A popping sound or sensation in an erect penis
- Sudden loss of the ability to maintain an erection
- Pain in the penis
- Purple bruising and swelling in the penis
- Difficulty urinating or blood in urine
- After a treatment with XIAFLEX, blood vessels in the penis may also break, causing blood to collect under the skin (hematoma). This could require a procedure to drain the blood from under the skin.
- Any man experiencing any of the above symptoms or any other unusual symptoms such as hives, swollen face, or chest pain, should call their healthcare provider immediately.