Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wisdom Wednesday: “All Natural” Alternatives for Erectile Dysfunction

I wrote this blog prior to the incident with Lamar Odem and the use of herbal sexual enhancement products. This blog is more timely than I had imagined and his case should serve as a warning for all men.

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) issued their consumer health information for October, 2015. It was a warning about products marketed as “dietary supplement” or “foods” that promise to enhance your sexual performance or increase sexual stimulation. The concern is that hidden drug ingredients or other undisclosed ingredients can endanger your health.

This year the FDA lab tests have found that nearly 300 of these products contain undisclosed drug ingredients. These often include the same active ingredients found in prescription drugs like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. Sometimes they contain combinations of undisclosed drugs in excessively high doses.

For example, one of these tainted products included 31 times the prescription dose of tadalafil (the active ingredient in Cialis), in combination with dapoxetine, an antidepressant that is not approved by the FDA.
“Some of these products have as many as six different ingredients contained in FDA-approved prescription drugs. We don’t know what danger this poses because these combinations have never been studied before they are sold to unsuspecting consumers,” says Gary Coody, R.Ph., FDA’s national health fraud coordinator.

I wrote a blog on the subject of dangerous ingredients last October 27, 2014 entitled “Dangerous Dietary Supplements Return to Store Shelves”. Please take a few minutes and review that blog.

Another concern is interaction with other drugs men may be taking, such as heart medications. A product that contains sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) in addition to certain drugs containing nitrates may lower blood pressure to an unsafe level. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease are often prescribed drugs containing nitrates, and men with those conditions commonly suffer from erectile dysfunction.
Erective dysfunction is a medical condition. Because dietary supplements can’t legally claim to prevent, diagnose or treat a medical condition or a disease, the “alternative” ED products are often advertised for “sexual enhancement.”

The Bottom Line:
Here are the red flags. Beware of products that:
  • Promise quick results (within 30 to 40 minutes).
  • Are advertised as alternatives to FDA-approved prescription drugs.
  • Are sold in single servings.
  • Advertise via spam or unsolicited emails.
  • Have labels written primarily in a foreign language.
  • Have directions and warnings than mimic FDA-approved products.

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