Erectile Dysfunction Treatment Xiaflex Straightens Deformed Erections
For men who suffer from a special type of erectile dysfunction, there is a new drug for making sex and life just a little bit better. When an otherwise working erection takes an unusual and painful wayward bend in the wrong direction, two studies report that treatment with Xiaflex significantly reduces this penile curvature deformity. The reported current successful treatment of ED with Xiaflex and its past approval for treatment of Dupuytren's contracture, has motivated the FDA to announce its inclusion of a second approval for this drug to be used to treat patients with a special type of erectile dysfunction that affects at least an estimated 1 out of every 100 men.
The main symptom of this special type of erectile dysfunction is due to a medical condition first described by Francois Gigot de la Peyronie in 1743 and subsequently named “Peyronie’s disease” in his honor. Peyronie’s disease is a penile deformity that is caused by the buildup of palpable scar tissue called “penile plaques” that can develop on the top, bottom or the sides of the male external sex organ. In mild cases, plaque formation is localized to one area and results in “a bend” to one side or the other, or up or down. For a fortunate few, approximately between 5%-19% of the time, men with milder forms of Peyronie’s disease will resolve spontaneously without a permanent bending deformity.
In more severe cases, the plaque formation can encompass the entire girth and lead to what is referred to as a "waisting" or "bottleneck" deformity. In almost all cases there is significant pain or discomfort both physical and emotional that can make sex difficult and result in ED. Scarring can also cause shrinkage or significant shortening of the penile length.
In some cases, Peyronie’s disease is remedied by a surgical technique called the “Nesbit plication” where the tissue on the unaffected side of the penis is “cinched up” to create a straighter—but shorter—member.
While the cause of Peyronie’s disease is largely unknown, it has been associated with cases of physical trauma to the sex organs and aging due to a decreased ability to heal properly. The penis is divided into two soft tissue chambers called the corpora cavernosa that fills with blood during arousal and typically leads to a hardened erection. An area referred to as a septum between the two chambers can be damaged by physical trauma―such as a blunt force blow from a kick or accidental violent bending during sex―and manifest as bleeding with bruising that may result in formation of scarring. This scarring can then reduce the flexibility of the otherwise soft tissue and lead to abnormal curvature that can interfere with sex.
There is a genetic component to Peyronie’s disease that remains less definitive and has been reported in multiple generations. However, it is known that people who suffer from Dupuytren's contracture have an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction via penile plaque formation.
Xiaflex was originally approved to treat Dupuytren's contracture―a progressive hand condition that inhibits your ability to move or straighten your fingers. Dupuytren's contracture is caused by an abnormal buildup of collagen that can build and thicken into rope-like cords in your palms that can then cause one or more of your fingers to bend toward the palm and eventually prevent fingers from being able to return to a straightened position. Collagen is an important structural protein in human tissue; however, abnormal amounts of collagen can lead to health complications.
Xiaflex is made from a living bacterial organism called Clostridial histolyticum of which a special protein enzyme called “collagenase” is extracted and used as the primary ingredient in Xiaflex. Xiaflex injection treatment works toward reversing the collagen buildup of Dupuytren's contracture by essentially dissolving the abnormal collagen cord buildup from the disease. In 2010, Xiaflex was approved by the FDA as the first nonsurgical treatment of Dupuytren's contracture and is still in use today for this special subset of patients. And now, a new subset of patients―albeit for a different extremity.