Early study of nanotechnological applications to treat erectile dysfunction shows promise that nanomedicine may someday offer an alternative to oral ED drugs such as Viagra, which today are the treatment of choice for ED. Nanotechnology, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the science of manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular scale.”
The use of nanotechnology in treating ED up to this point has been focused on four primary areas, according to a study printed in the January 2017 issue of “The Journal of Sexual Medicine.” These are:
- Topical drugs to be used on demand to facilitate erectile function.
- Gels injected into the penis to prevent structural changes in the wake of prostatectomy.
- Water-based gels to protect erectile nerves and potentially regenerate the penis’s cavernous nerves.
- Encapsulation of existing drugs such as Viagra to improve their performance.
Animal testing, detailed in a study published in the December 2014 issue of “The Journal of Sexual Medicine,” showed that the application of topical gels containing nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles led to spontaneous erection in animal subjects. How well this procedure would work in humans remains to be studied.
While nanotechnology appears to hold considerable promise for the eventual development of new ED treatments, for now Viagra and the other PDE5 inhibitors remain the best available treatment for blood flow-related ED.
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