Alternative Treatments

We define alternative treatments as treatments that have been perused by patients independent of a doctor’s recommendation.  Often a better term is adjunct treatment because these are often taken in addition to treatments recommended by a medical doctor and not a replacement to medical treatment. These run the range from highly speculative substances or procedures to those treatments that have a strong basis in theory and some clinical studies to support their effectiveness.  Patients that pursue alternative treatments must inform themselves and assume all the risks associated with their actions.

Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALC) – ALC is an over the counter supplement derived from amino acids. There is much interest in this supplement and clinical studies have been carried out showing positive results in slowing Alzheimer’s, and in supporting nerve regeneration in diabetics with neuropathy. Clinical trials have also shown it to restore libido in males equal to testosterone with none of the significant side effects of testosterone.  One small clinical study showed improvement of Peyronies Disease patients taking ALC when compared to a control group taking Tomoxifin. 

DMSO – As is most alternative treatments, the use of dimethyl sulfoxide or DMSO in treating Peyronie’s Disease is controversial.  Although DMSO is used in some medical treatments in the USA; it is for the most part not used by American doctors.  Doctors in Russia as well as other European countries, commonly use  DMSO in treating a wide variety of medical  ailments.  DMSO is a transdermal agent; meaning it has the ability to penetrate the skin and underlying tissue and the ability to carry many other substances deep into the tissue.  This includes contaminants that could be on the hands.  In the use of treating PD, DMSO is used as a carrier.  By far, the most common form of using DMSO to treat PD is called “Thacker’s Formula.”  It is strongly recommended that those interested in using DMSO read all the posts on the forum listed under the thread Thacker’s Formula as well as the current thread on DMSO.  DMSO itself is known to have a very low toxic level.   Like many treatments, no studies have been done to measure the efficacy rate of using DMSO to treat PD. However, there have been anecdotal reports of everything from excellent improvement to no improvement at all.

As stated before, the use of DMSO for therapeutic applications is controversial, but some evidence indicates that DMSO has anti-inflammatory properties and alleviates pain when applied to the skin.
These effects have been reported particularly with connective tissue diseases. DMSO applied to the affected area appears to reduce pain by inhibiting transmission of pain messages by nerves and may also soften the abnormal connective tissue associated with disorders such as Dupuytren’s contracture, keloids, Peyronie’s Disease, and scleroderma.

Enzymes – Many enzymes, enzyme blends, and priority enzyme mixtures have been both used and marketed as possible alternative treatments for Peyronies Disease.  Some of the more common enzymes used are;  bromelain, papain, serrapeptase, rutin, and nattokinase.  The are often sold under brand names such as Wobenzym, Fibrozym, Vitalzym, and Neprinol.  We know of no clinical studies that have evaluated oral enzyme action on Peyronies Disease in either the acute or chronic stage.  Some pharmaceutical companies are researching injectable enzymes of a very different nature to break down and remold collagen scar tissue.

It should be noted that some enzymes manufactures report that enzymes break down arterial plaque.  Peyronies Disease plaque is an entirely different substance and is actually scar tissue. 

Hyperthermia (Heat Therapy) –  The application of heat to the penis has been studied to both treat Peyronies Disease and to prevent penile shrinkage after radical prostatectomy.  While some positive results were observed, these were very small studies.

In one study, 60 patients with advanced Peyronie’s Disease were divided into two groups of 30. one group underwent local hyperthermia treatment, with 30-min treatment sessions twice a week for 5 weeks. Patients received a total of 10 applications, which reached a local temperature of 39–40°C. A second cycle was repeated after a 1-month interval for a total of 20 treatment sessions. The other group was treated with weekly verapamil injections for 3 months.

Results: Hyperthermia significantly reduced plaque size and penile curvature and led to an increase iof erectile function. The verapamil group had no such effects.  Hyperthermia caused significantly fewer side effects than verapamil and was significantly more effective in preventing disease progression.

While positive, this study requires much more extensive studies of larger groups.