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Sex Health Blog

ED and Sexual Enhancement Products

Feb 09, 2011

You’ve probably seen them advertised on TV or the Internet – sexual enhancement formulas that claim to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).  They are often advertised as dietary supplements and claim to be “herbal” or “all natural.” Many come in pill form; one is contained in instant coffee.

And let’s face it.  It’s not easy to go to the doctor and talk about erection problems.    It may be less embarrassing to just order one of these formulas online in the privacy of your own home.

But are these products safe? 

They might not be.

Undeclared Ingredients

Erectile dysfunction is often treated with approved prescription medications, such as sildenafil citrate (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil HCl (Levitra).  However, as with many medications, these drugs can interact with other prescriptions and have serious consequences.

Drugs prescribed for ED are of particular concern for people who take medications containing nitrates, such as nitroglycerin.  Mixing these two types of drugs can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

Patients with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease often take medications that contain nitrates.  Unfortunately, erectile dysfunction often accompanies these conditions and must be treated differently.

Non-prescription sexual enhancement formulas often contain the same active ingredients that are found in the prescription drugs.  Or, they might contain an analogue – a chemical compound that is almost identical to those active ingredients, but differs slightly.  For example, sulfoaildenafil is an analogue to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.

In many cases, the active ingredient (analogue or not), is not listed on the product label or in the packaging materials.  So men may not know what they’re truly taking.  They might be completely unaware that the supplement could interact with their other medications and cause problems.  Also, these active ingredients may be found in higher quantities than what’s been approved for prescription use. 

Sexual enhancement products are not always reviewed and/or approved by regulatory health agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  And there’s little clinical evidence to prove they are effective.

Which Supplements?

In the past six months, the FDA has investigated the following products and cautioned consumers about using them.  Most cases involve an undeclared ingredient, usually an analogue to the active ingredients found in approved prescription drugs used to treat ED.  The active ingredient was not listed on the product label.

Many of the products’ manufacturers recalled them voluntarily and in some instances, no consumers had been directly harmed by using the product.

 

Aziffa

 

Mr. Magic Male Enhancer

 

Stiff Nights

 

Erex

 

OMG

 

Straight Up

 

Eyeful

 

OMG45

 

TimeOut capsules

 

Hard Drive

 

Pandora

 

WOW

 

Libidinal

 

Prolatis

 

Verect

 

Man Up Now capsules

 

Red Magic

 

Xaitrex

 

Maxyte

 

Revivexxx ® Extra Strength

 

Xytamax

 

Mojo

RockHard Weekend

 

Zilex (with Golden Spear)

Monster Excyte

Size Matters

 

Zotrex

 

If you’re concerned about any products you’ve taken, call your doctor.  Contact the manufacturer of any recalled product for a refund.

ED Treatment

Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of underlying medical conditions, so if you’re having erection problems, it’s best to see your doctor.  He or she can give you a complete workup and design a treatment plan that is best for you. 

Other therapies for ED may be much more effective – and safer – for you.  Some options include:

  • Sex therapy, counseling, and education.  Talking to a therapist can help you work out any relationship problems that play a role in your ED.  Therapists can also teach you ways to discuss ED with your partner and open up lines of communication.
  • Penile injectionsSome ED medications can be injected into the base of the penis before intercourse.  These medications help widen blood vessels, allowing more blood flow into the penis for a full erection.  A urologist can teach you the proper technique.
  • Vacuum devicesThese devices involve placing a clear plastic cylinder over the penis.  Then, a hand- or battery-operated pump removes the air, creating a vacuum and erection.  A plastic ring, placed tightly around the base of the penis, maintains the erection by keeping blood in.
  • Intra-urethral suppositories.  These suppositories are inserted into the urethra.  The medication relaxes blood vessels so more blood can flow into the penis, causing an erection.  Like penile injections, a urologist can show you how to use suppositories.

Treatment Decisions

If you do decide to try a sexual enhancement formula, discuss your decision with a doctor.  He or she will be able to give you more information on the safety of the product, keeping your personal medical situation in mind.