The treatment of sleep-related painful erections

Mels F. van Driel*, Jack J. Beck, Henk W. Elzevier, Johannes H. van der Hoeven, J. M. Nijman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction. As specialists in male genital problems, urologists and sexologists will most likely to be involved in the treatment of males presenting with sleep-related painful erections (SRPEs). This means that this phenomenon needs to be recognized by urologists and sexologists, and that they should have knowledge of the current diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

    Aim. To review the literature on SRPE and to find the best pharmacological treatment.

    Methods. Four personal clinical observations from two clinics and 29 other cases with SRPE found in PubMed were analyzed, especially regarding the results of pharmacological treatment.

    Main Outcome Measures. The results of pharmacological treatment.

    Results. Many of the various treatments proved to be ineffective and only a few showed efficacy for a few weeks or months. The only effective drugs in the long term were baclofen, clonazepam, and clozapine.

    Conclusions. Until now, the phenomenon of SRPE is not well understood. The rarity of the published cases undoubtedly does not reflect the actual occurrence of SRPE. Controlled double-blind pharmacological trials are needed, and long-term follow-up including polysomnography coupled with nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity monitoring may provide further information about SRPE. van Driel MF, Beck JJ, Elzevier HW, van der Hoeven JH, and Nijman JM. The treatment of sleep-related painful erections. J Sex Med 2008;5:909-918.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)909-918
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr-2008


    • Sleep-Related Painful Erections
    • Pharmacological Treatments
    • Baclofen
    • Clonazepam

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