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scientific articles

Treatments for priapism in boys and men with sickle cell disease

key information

source: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

year: 2017

authors: Chinegwundoh FI, Smith S, Anie KA

summary/abstract:

BACKGROUND:
Sickle cell disease comprises a group of genetic haemoglobin disorders. The predominant symptom associated with sickle cell disease is pain resulting from the occlusion of small blood vessels by abnormally ‘sickle-shaped’ red blood cells. There are other complications, including chronic organ damage and prolonged painful erection of the penis, known as priapism. Severity of sickle cell disease is variable, and treatment is usually symptomatic. Priapism affects up to half of all men with sickle cell disease, however, there is no consistency in treatment. We therefore need to know the best way of treating this complication in order to offer an effective interventional approach to all affected individuals.

OBJECTIVES:
To assess the benefits and risks of different treatments for stuttering (repeated short episodes) and fulminant (lasting for six hours or more) priapism in sickle cell disease.

MAIN RESULTS:
Three trials with 102 participants were identified and met the criteria for inclusion in this review. These trials compared stilboestrol to placebo, sildenafil to placebo and ephedrine or etilefrine to placebo and ranged in duration from two weeks to six months. All of the trials were conducted in an outpatient setting in Jamaica, Nigeria and the UK. None of the trials measured our first primary outcome, detumescence but all three trials reported on the reduction in frequency of stuttering priapism, our second primary outcome. No significant effect of any of the treatments was seen compared to placebo. Immediate side effects were not found to be significantly different from placebo in the two trials where this information was reported. We considered the quality of evidence to be low to very low as all of the trials were at risk of bias and all had low participant numbers.

organisation: Department of Urology, Barts and The London NHS Trust, West Smithfield, London, UK

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004198.pub3

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