Guideline-nonconformant investigational treatments for erectile dysfunction: What are patients learning?

To evaluate the validity of YouTube content on shockwave, platelet-rich plasma, and stem cell therapies for erectile dysfunction (ED). The consumerization of men's health is particularly notable among regenerative ED treatments, and the popularity of these treatments has been amplified by social media sites such as YouTube.

We searched YouTube utilizing the following terms: "shockwave therapy-," "platelet-rich plasma- and "stem cell therapy-" "-for erectile dysfunction." The first 50 resulting videos per query were screened (inclusion criteria: relevant title/content, English language, >100 views) and judged by two independent graders using the validated DISCERN instrument for consumer health information. Regression analysis assessed association of video characteristics with DISCERN score.

71 unique videos met criteria. More content featured non-physicians (37%) or non-urologist physicians (35%) than urologists (28%). Mean DISCERN score was low at 42.8 out of 80. DISCERN score significantly differed by video category and characteristics. Educational and urologist-featuring videos were associated with higher score. News reports were associated with lower score. Only 3 videos mentioned investigational/experimental status of the therapies. Only 2 cited society guidelines.

Most YouTube videos on regenerative ED therapies are unreliable and from non-urologists. The misrepresentation of proven efficacy may be encouraging patients to seek these still investigational treatments at high fiscal costs to the patient. Videos with urologists were more likely to be higher quality and guideline based. The urological and academic communities should continue to leverage the power of social media to provide evidence-backed consumer health information in this space.

Urology. 2022 Dec 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Ming-Yeah Y Hu, David R Ho, James M Weinberger, Vadim Osadchiy, Jesse N Mills, Sriram V Eleswarapu

Division of Andrology, Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA., Division of Andrology, Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. Electronic address: .