Acupuncture may be another treatment option for premature ejaculation (PE), new findings suggest.

In a study of 90 PE patients, the therapy proved superior to a sham treatment but less effective than paroxetine, a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor known to be a known therapeutic effect on PE, according to an online report in European Urology.

Didem Sunay, MD, and colleagues at the Ministry of Health Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey, randomly assigned patients to receive paroxetine 20 mg/day, acupuncture, or sham acupuncture (placebo acupuncture). Each group had 30 patients. Investigators evaluated PE by measuring intravaginal ejaculation latency times (IELTs) and using the Premature Ejaculation Diagnostic Tool (PEDT). IELTs were determined by using a partner-held stopwatch.

Median PEDT scores of paroxetine, acupuncture, and placebo groups were 17.0, 16.0, and 15.5, respectively, before treatment, and 10.5, 11.0, and 16.0 after treatment.

Paroxetine, acupuncture, and placebo acupuncture increased IELTs by 82.7, 65.7, and 33.1 seconds, respectively. The extent of ejaculation delay caused by paroxetine was significant greater than that of acupuncture, the researchers found.

“The result of the present study showed that real acupuncture was more effective than placebo acupuncture,” the authors stated. “This result seems to refute the hypothesis that it has a placebo effect.”

The authors concluded: “Although acupuncture is less effective than daily paroxetine, it had a significantly stronger ejaculation-delaying effect than placebo and seems to be an alternative to other treatment models in the treatment of PE.”