Many healthcare professionals recommend that people with both conditions take steps to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) before undergoing treatment specifically for Peyronie’s disease. Still, some treatments for Peyronie’s disease may improve erectile function.

Older estimates from 2006 suggest that up to a third of people with Peyronie’s disease experience ED.

Some cases of Peyronie’s disease are caused by trauma to the penis. This forms scar tissue, or “plaque.” It can also damage blood vessels and nerves responsible for erectile function.

It’s important to remember that a variety of factors can cause ED, often in combination. For example, distress about penile curvature, possible performance anxiety, and pain can all play a role in diminished erectile function.

What’s more, a 2021 Swedish study showed that men with Peyronie’s disease were more likely to have a substance use disorder, anxiety, and depression. All of these can impact erectile function in different ways.

In the active phase of Peyronie’s disease, pain can be a significant factor in limiting erectile function.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may provide enough pain relief to improve erectile function.

A 2018 research review shows that shockwave treatment to the penis may help ease pain in the active phase of Peyronie’s disease and treat ED. However, it hasn’t been proven to treat curvature or improve erectile function over the long term.

Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, including sildenafil (Viagra), have been shown to improve both Peyronie’s disease and ED symptoms at doses as low as 25 milligrams.

In complex cases of Peyronie’s disease with severe ED, a penile prosthesis can be surgically implanted.

Can you take Viagra if you have Peyronie’s disease?

In a word, yes.

Sildenafil (Viagra) has been studied both alone and in conjunction with other therapies to treat ED and penile curvature from Peyronie’s disease.

A 2014 study showed that using sildenafil helps improve erectile function and curvature.

A newer study published in 2018 showed that combining sildenafil with collagenase offered more improvements to curvature than collagenase alone.

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Pain from Peyronie’s disease may resolve without medical treatment in 12–18 months for as many as 90% of people with the condition, according to a 2019 study.

About 3–13% of people with Peyronie’s disease will see improvements in penile curvature without treatment.

As one can imagine, people with more severe curvature are less likely to see spontaneous improvement, and those with compromised sexual function or significant distress are more likely to pursue treatment.

It’s important to consider the psychological impact as well.

Up to 80% of people diagnosed with Peyronie’s disease experience mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. These conditions may worsen over time without treatment.

There are several ways to break up plaque in people with Peyronie’s disease who need treatment.

Your healthcare professional can inject medication directly into the plaque to break up the deposited collagen. This can help straighten the penis and may ultimately improve erectile function.

Injectable medications include:

  • verapamil (a blood pressure medication)
  • interferon alpha-2b (an immune system modulator)
  • collagenase clostridium histolyticum (Xiaflex)

Each medication has associated risks and side effects, which you should discuss with your healthcare professional.

Plaques can also be removed surgically or through incision to correct the curvature.

While shockwave treatment is currently recommended only for pain management in the active phase, researchers are looking into the use of this treatment to disrupt plaque as well.

Topical therapies like magnesium and liposomal recombinant human superoxide dismutase are also under study.

Peyronie’s disease has a variable course. Most people will see improvements in their pain levels over time, with or without treatment.

Curvature improves spontaneously in some people with Peyronie’s disease. But for most people, the curvature will stabilize or continue to progress.

PDE5 inhibitors like sildenafil may have some benefit in reducing fibrosis of the penis and slowing down the progression of the disease.

Some studies also suggest that injections of certain medications during the active phase of Peyronie’s disease could influence the natural progression of the disease, but more research is needed.

Peyronie’s disease pain can often go away on its own. Penile curvature is less likely to resolve without treatment, but it does happen for some people.

The same can also be said for ED; although ED symptoms can resolve on their own, there may be an underlying cause that requires treatment.

As with any condition, people experiencing symptoms of Peyronie’s disease or ED should consult a healthcare professional to learn more.

Dr. Joseph Brito provides general urologic care at Yale Medicine with a special focus on minimally invasive surgical techniques and urologic oncology. Dr. Brito received his MD from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Brito completed a residency in urology at Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School of Brown University and trained in clinical oncology at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Brito is a member of the American Urological Association.