Transcranial photobiomodulation (t-PBM) consists of the delivery of near-infrared (NIR) or red light to the scalp designed to penetrate to subjacent cortical areas of the brain. NIR t-PBM has recently emerged as a potential therapy for brain disorders. This study assessed the efficacy of repeated sessions of NIR t-PBM on sexual dysfunction. We performed a secondary analysis of a double-blind clinical trial on t-PBM for major depressive disorder (MDD). Twenty individuals received NIR t-PBM (n = 9) or sham therapy (n = 11) twice a week for 8 weeks. Sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm were assessed using the Systematic Assessment for Treatment-Emergent Effects-Specific Inquiry (SAFTEE-SI).
The mean improvement in sexual function (decrease in SAFTEE sex total score) in subjects receiving t-PBM in NIR-mode was significantly greater than in subjects receiving sham-mode in the whole sample (NIR [n = 9] −2.55 ± 1.88 vs. sham [n = 11] −0.45 ± 1.21; z = 2.548, P = 0.011]) and in the completers (NIR [n = 5] −3.4 ± 1.95 vs. sham [n = 7] −0.14 ± 1.21; z = 2.576, P = 0.010])
Conclusion. This exploratory study with a small sample size indicates that repeated sessions of NIR t-PBM may be associated with therapeutic effects on sexual dysfunction. The latter appeared unrelated to the antidepressant effect of t-PBM in our cohort. Lasers Surg. Med.
Cassano P, Dording C, Thomas G, Foster S, Yeung A, Uchida M, Hamblin MR, Bui E, Fava M, Mischoulon D, Iosifescu DV. Effects of transcranial photobiomodulation with near-infrared light on sexual dysfunction. Lasers Surg Med. 2019 Feb;51(2):127-135. doi: 10.1002/lsm.23011. Epub 2018 Sep 17. PMID: 30221776; PMCID: PMC6382556.