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November 16th, 2009
Why Won’t It Go Down?! Possible Treatment for Painful Lengthy Erections

While some would consider 4 hour erections to be a gift rather than a curse, men who suffer from penis pain and damage from these lengthy erections disagree. New mouse research suggests that these men may be able to benefit from a drug that was used in the past to treat severe immune deficiency.

Priapism is a condition that seems like a joke to those who have not suffered from it. Over 40% of men who have sickle-cell anemia also suffer from priapism. It can also be a pain for men with diabetes and a side effect of erectile dysfunction drugs—mostly ones injected into the penis.

The swelling that is caused by priapism is usually extremely painful and fresh blood stops being supplied to the penis. This causes Penile Fibrosis which is the forming of scar tissue in the area and can often mean permanent erectile dysfunction.

Scientists have decided to find a cure to this problem by accident. The original study being conducted was on mice that were missing a gene that fails in children who have severe combined immune deficiency (SCID). Yang Xia MD and researchers at the University of Texas couldn’t help but notice that the mice also suffered from priapism and penile fibrosis.

When researchers replaced the enzyme that was produced by the gene, called adenosine deaminase, the mice were not only relieved of their priapism but the penile fibrosis was also reduced.

“We identified a new application to treat priapism with a drug that is commonly used to treat SCID,” says Xia. “When we treated the mice, we do not see any side effects or any abnormality. Actually, the mice look better. We can quickly correct the priapism and prevent and treat penile fibrosis.”

The current treatments available for priapism are currently not favorable. If drug injections can’t manage to tighten the blood flow muscles, blood must be withdrawn from the main body of the penis. In order to manage this, doctors must take the blood with a needle or install a shunt surgically to divert blood flow. These treatments, however, are painful and fail to prevent penile fibrosis.

“The discovery of excess adenosine as the causative factor for both prolonged penile erection and penile fibrosis in mice opens up the possibility of treating and even preventing this painful and dangerous disorder,” researchers conclude.

There is a hope for a clinical trial and the good news is that treatment PEG-ADA is already safe for humans. However, the bad news is that it’s rarely used.


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