Men suffering from serious and even painful penis curvature have a new medical option—if they can afford to pay $26,000 or more. The FDA has approved Xiaflex, a drug that targets Peyronie's disease by reducing the build-up of a protein that creates scar tissue in the penis, the LA Times reports. That scar tissue can cause the penis to curve by 30 degrees or more when erect, making sex impossible. "It’s a soul-destroying disease," says a plumber in Colorado Springs who started an association for Peyronie's disease advocates, reports the New York Times.
Xiaflex offers hope to the 65,000 to 120,000 men who get Peyronie's disease each year, but costs are formidable: $3,300 per injection, or $26,000 for a full treatment of eight injections plus a doctor's fee. (Until now, doctors have used less-expensive treatments like a generic blood-pressure drug.) So far, Xiaflex is only available in a restricted program because it's a little dangerous: Health care providers must carefully "model" the injected penis, which may experience adverse reactions such as ruptured penile tissue. Less worrisome side effects include penile pain, swelling, and bruising, the FDA says. (Read more penis stories.)