Marketing of Shockwave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction Raises Concerns

Techniques, costs, and provider credentials in biggest U.S. cities vary widely

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MONDAY, April 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Shockwave therapy (SWT) as restorative treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), for which no standardized protocol has been developed, is being marketed directly to consumers, according to a study published online April 5 in Urology Practice.

James M. Weinberger, M.D., from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues evaluated trends in marketing and implementation of SWT as a restorative treatment for ED in the eight largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Clinics were contacted by telephone using a "secret shopper" methodology with the goal of identifying the pricing, duration, and provider administering the treatment.

The researchers identified 152 clinics that offered SWT as a treatment for ED. Just under two-thirds of clinics (65 percent) provided comprehensive information. One-quarter of providers offering SWT were urologists, while 13 percent were not physicians. Per treatment course, the average price was $3,338.28. There was high variability in treatment duration, which ranged from one to indefinite courses based on individual patient circumstance.

"This study highlights concerning trends in major metropolitan markets, given the substantial financial impact for patients and inconsistent credentials among providers," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Boston Scientific and Endo.

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