A 2021 study1, published in Translational Andrology and Urology, found Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy to be as effective as sildenafil in alleviating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, as measured by IIEF-5 scores.
The study followed two patient groups – one receiving shockwave therapy, and one using sildenafil – for a period of 9 weeks. Previous studies have found that shockwave therapy is most effective for men suffering from vascular erectile dysfunction; the new study did not screen patients by the cause of their ED.
The study found that sildenafil delivered immediate results (in the first few weeks), while the benefits of shockwave therapy were not apparent until later in the study, but was ultimately as effective. Neither group had significant adverse effects.
It is important to note that sildenafil must be taken shortly before sexual activity, while shockwave therapy delivers long-term improvements. The study concluded that, “Compared to sildenafil, Li-ESWT has shown more potential to achieve a long-term therapeutic effect due to its addressing underlying neovascularization mechanisms, which is advantageous to this novel therapy.”
Shockwave therapy is typically administered in a clinical setting over a period of 6-8 weeks. Home shockwave therapy devices are also available.
- Lei, Qi; Wang, Dong; Liu, Chunhui; Ji, Zhigang; Yan, Su. “Comparison of the efficacy and safety of low-intensity extracorporeal shock wave therapy versus on-demand sildenafil for erectile dysfunction.” Translational Andrology and Urology. Feb 2021; 10(2):860-868. doi: 10.21037/tau-20-1069.