How safe are sex enhancement drugs?

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September 18th, 2012

Sex enhancement drugs are a source of relief for men who suffer impotence as they

… are used totreaterectile dysfunction. However, there are fears that some of thesedrugs have the potential of destroying male fertility.
Experts say long use of certain sex enhancement drugs may impact negatively on sperm quality.There are also concerns that with widespread counterfeiting of drugs, fake or counterfeits of otherwise certified sex enhancement drugs like Viagra, expose users to potentially dangerous ingredients that may harm their reproductive health.
Other risks associated with sex-enhancement drugs include cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, kidney failure and priapism among many other side effects.
Reasons men use sex enhancement drugs
Men aged 45 and above who are contending with erectile dysfunction may find sex enhancement drugs as the key to satisfactory sexual intercourse. However, younger men are getting hooked on such drugs for recreational purposes.
A young man, Umoren Godswill blamed it on sexual pressure from women. He said: “It could be as a result of pressure from women. Some men use it because they want to impress women.”


Umoren’s position was corroborated by another man who did not want to be named: “Some men use it because they want to be seen as super active. They have the assumption that it makes you go many rounds”, he said.
Speaking on what obtained in his younger days, 75 years old Abidodun Ajakaiye disclosed that his contemporaries drank Guinness Stout to help boost sexual performance. “In our days we used to drink Odeku (big Stout). I don’t know whether it works or not. Sometimes by the time the woman comes, I would have slept off,” he said.
Sex enhancing medications are not a novelty. In the days of yore, herbs, roots and certain food combinations were purportedly taken to enhance virility. However, the emergence of Viagra in the 1990 as a medication for treating sexual dysfunction upped the popularity of sex enhancement drugs. Apart from Viagra, two other FDA- certified brands of orthodox medications for sex enhancement; Levitra and Cialis are very popular.
Today, the drug market is flooded with many medications for improving sexual pleasure which their manufacturers claim are ‘dietary and all natural’ to escape appropriate regulation, though experts observe that some of them contain active ingredients similar to those in synthetic sex enhancement drugs and therefore potentially dangerous to health.
Whether natural or orthodox, sex enhancement drugs come with shots of side effects which include cardio-vascular conditions including high blood pressure, kidney failure and infertility.
Consultant Urologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Habib Tijani, confirmed with Business Hallmark that some sexual enhancement drugs may impair male fertility.“Long term usage of some of them may affect the quality of the semen.”
According to Tijani, some of these drugs contain testosterone which could impair fertility.
“Some of them do contain feminizing hormones, that is, estrogen and these can affect sexual urge. Some of them contain testosterone particularly those of them used locally for erection and can also affect fertility.”
The U Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers against products marketed as a ‘dietary supplement’ for sexual enhancement as some, they noted contain active ingredient that can cause serious complications.
“Sexual enhancement products that claim to work as well as prescription products are likely to contain a contaminant. Use of such products exposes consumers to unpredictable risk and the potential for injury or even death,” FDA said on its website.
Only recently, a 29-year old American, Adrian Carter sued the manufacturers of a sexual enhancement supplement, VirilisPro, Haute Health Limited Liability Company, for being ‘defective and unreasonably dangerous’ for use by consumers’ after his penis fractured during sex after use of VirilisPro.
According to the court papers, doctors have warned the victim that he may never have an erection or be able to father children and that his urethers may close, resulting in permanent inability to urinate naturally.
Although Pfizer, makers of Viagra, deny that its product has any negative effect on reproductive health, it admitted that long erection greater than 4 hours and priapism (painful erection)more than 6 hours have been infrequently reported since the launch of Viagra into the market.
“In the event of an erection that persists longer than 4 hours, the patient should seek immediate medical assistance. If priapism is not treated immediately, penile tissues damage and permanent loss of potency may result,” it stated on its website.
The company also disclosed that there is potential for cardiac risks in persons with preexisting cardio-vascular diseases. “Treatment for erection dysfunction, including Viagra should not be generally used in men for whom sexual activity is inadvisable because of their underlying cardio-vascular status, it stated.
It advised that Viagra should be used with caution in men with deformed penis and those predispose to priapism such as those with sickle cell anaemia or leukemia.
A gynaecologist, Dr. Joseph Akinde said synthetic sex enhancement drugs like Viagra do not cause infertility and blamed local ones which he said could cause kidney failure, priapism and infertility. “Some of them may compromise fertility. Some may damage the kidney or predispose you to develop diseases like diabetes. Some my cause priapism- the penis might refuse to go down.”
An alternative medicine practitioner, Dr. Godwin Ihesie said argued that most sex enhancement drugs that have adverse effect on fertility are synthetic.
Precaution
Experts advise that if they must, people should research on the constituents of whatever sex enhancement drug they want to take. Experts advise that persons who want to use sex enhancing drugs should consult their doctor or pharmacist before taking these drugs whether they are ‘natural’ or synthetic. The only safe way to purchase medications is through a pharmacy with a prescription.
“Every individual should know exactly what you are taking. You have a right to ask not just the doctor but the herbal practitioner, ‘I want to know exactly what this medicine contains.’ The world is a global village. You can easily get information as per the constituent of what you are being given,” Dr Tijani added.
Experts also warned persons with coronary disease or congestive heart failure or hypertension against use of sex enhancement drugs except advised and supervised by a doctor. They also caution against long use of these drugs by otherwise healthy persons.

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