Iontophoresis for Peyronie’s disease treatment, also known as electromotive drug administration (EMDA), is a treatment that involves delivering a mild electrical current to a skin patch that is placed on the skin over the plaque. The patch (a transdermal patch) is designed to deliver drugs, such as dexamethasone, lidocaine (an anesthetic), and verapamil. Iontophorisis may help the drugs penetrate the skin to the plaque area and also stimulate healing.
Studies of iontophoresis for Peyronie’s disease treatment
A number of studies of iontophoresis for Peyronie’s disease treatment have reported varying success. One involved 100 men treated with a combination of dexamethasone, lidocaine, and verapamil in a patch placed over the plaque, to which an electrical current was applied. The men received three weekly treatments, after which 96% reported complete relief from pain, 53% had a reduction in plaque, 37% noted improvement in penile curvature, and 44% said erectile dysfunction had improved. (Riedl 2000)
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of iontophoresis for Peyronie’s disease treatment included 40 men who were treated with iontophoresis and the drug combination of orgotein, dexamethasone, and lidocaine. Treatment sessions were for 20 minutes three times a week for three weeks, and the patients were evaluated at 1 and 3 months after treatment started.
All the men reported complete relief from pain while 79% had disappearance or significant improvement in plaque, 62% had improvement in penile deformity, and more than 80% reported better penile rigidity. (Montorsi 2000)
The same researchers also treated 25 men with verapamil and dexamethasone using the same treatment schedule. Again, all the men had complete pain relief, but the men got better results than did the men who were treated with three drugs. In the two-drug group, 90% had disappearance or significant improvement of plaque and 88% saw improvement in penile deformity.
In another double-blinded, controlled trial of iontophoresis for Peyronie’s disease treatment, 73 men were treated with either verapamil and dexamethasone or lidocaine (control group) with iontophoresis. All the participants received four 20-minute sessions per week for six consecutive weeks. Plaque disappeared completely in 5 (14%) of the treated patients and penile curvature resolved in 5 (14%). Erectile function returned in 51% of the treated patients compared with only 11% of controls. (DiStasi 2004)
Use and side effects of iontophoresis for Peyronie’s disease treatment
Iontophoresis/electric shock for Peyronie’s disease treatment is typically given at a rate of two to four 20-minute sessions per week for six to 12 weeks. The only reported side effect is mild skin irritation related to the delivery of the electrical pulse.
DiStasi SM et al. A prospective, randomized study using transdermal electromotive administration of verapamil and dexamethasone for Peyronie’s disease. J Urol 2004 Apr; 171(4): 1605-8
Montorsi F et al. Transdermal electromotive multi-drug administration for Peyronie’s disease: preliminary results. J Androl 2000 Jan-Feb; 21(1): 85-90
Riedl CR et al. Iontophoresis for treatment of Peyronie’s disease. J Urol 2000 Jan; 163(1): 95-99