The objective of this study is to review our 12-year experience with the 5-α reductase inhibitor dutasteride as a potential long-term treatment option for stuttering priapism. Dutasteride has a uniquely long half-life of 35 days which offers a theoretical advantage as a chronic therapy for management of stuttering priapism.
We retrospectively reviewed patients with stuttering priapism in our database from 2006-2018 treated with dutasteride. Men with concurrent use of medications other than dutasteride to treat stuttering priapism were excluded. Patients were started on a dose of 0.5 mg daily and tapered to a more infrequent dosing schedule, ranging from 0.5 mg every other day to once weekly. The frequency of priapism episodes before and after initiation of dutasteride therapy was analyzed.
Among 21 cases, 13 patients met our inclusion criteria (mean age 43 years). Median follow-up on daily dutasteride was 79 days, and median follow-up on tapered dutasteride was 607 days. A total of 11/13 (85%) men treated with dutasteride had some degree of improvement-5/13 (38%) had complete resolution of their symptoms and 6/13 (46%) had reduced frequency and/or severity of their episodes. Among 5/13 (38%) men who had >2 emergency room (ER) visits for ischemic priapism prior to therapy, most (3/5, 60%) did not require any ER visits while on dutasteride therapy. Among the five men who received chronic, tapered-dose therapy, all reported continued suppression of priapistic episodes. Among 4 patients with sickle cell disease (SCD), 3/4 (75%) ultimately chose more invasive therapy including androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and penile prosthesis. Side effects were minimal and included gynecomastia (8%), decreased libido (8%), and fatigue (8%).
In patients with stuttering priapism, daily dutasteride therapy is a promising treatment option to reduce the frequency and severity of priapistic episodes without significant side effects. Therapy can effectively be tapered to once weekly dosing without a reduction in efficacy.

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