Injection Anxiety and Pain in Men Using Intracavernosal Injection Therapy after Radical Pelvic Surgery

Christian J. Nelson*, Wayland Hsiao, Eliana Balk, Joseph Narus, Raanan Tal, Nelson E. Bennett, John P. Mulhall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Introduction: Intracavernosal injection (ICI) therapy is a well-recognized treatment strategy with high success rates for men with erectile dysfunction. Despite this, injection anxiety and pain related to injection are significant barriers to its use. Aims: This study aims to examine injection anxiety and injection pain in patients using ICI. Methods: Men starting ICI therapy post radical pelvic surgery completed questionnaires at initial visit, at each of the two ICI training sessions and at a 4-month follow-up visit. Main Outcome Measures: Injection Anxiety Scale, Injection Pain Scale, Injection Reaction Inventory, and the Erectile Function Domain of the International Index of Erectile Function. Results: Average age of the 68 men was 60±8 years. At 4 months, the self-reported frequency of ICI use was: 29% <1/week, 26% 1/week, 40% 2/week, and 5% 3/week. Mean injection anxiety score at first injection was 5.7±2.8 (range 0-10) and significantly decreased to a 4.1±3 at 4 months (P<0.001). At first injection, 65% reported high injection anxiety (≥5) and this significantly decreased to 42% (P=0.003) at 4 months. Anxiety at first injection was negatively related to ICI frequency at 4 months (r=-0.23, P=0.08). Mean injection pain score at first injection was low (2.2±1.8, range 0-10) and 59% rated injection pain ≤2. Injection pain remained consistent across time periods. At first injection, injection anxiety (assessed prior to injection) was related to injection pain (r=0.21, P=0.04) and subjects (n=21) who reported high injection anxiety (≥5) across time points, reported an increase in injection pain scores from first injection to 4 months (2.7 vs. 3.7, P=0.05). Conclusions: Although injection anxiety decreased with ICI use, mean injection anxiety remained at a moderate level (4.4) and 42% of men continued to report "high" injection anxiety at 4 months. While injection pain was low, injection anxiety and pain were related. These data suggest the need for a psychological intervention to help lower injection anxiety related to ICI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2559-2565
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2013


  • Anxiety
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Intracavernosal Injection
  • Pain
  • Prostate Cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'Injection Anxiety and Pain in Men Using Intracavernosal Injection Therapy after Radical Pelvic Surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this