Don't Panic, Men, But New Study Says Sexual Treatments Not Only Unproven, But Harmful, Too

You've seen the commercials.  The men of a certain age and their trophy wives lazing in a hot tub or strolling down the beach hand in hand, the idea subtly surfacing that they've just had a romantic interlude.

Now a new study says, beware.  Even if you're not talking about the pills that start with a V, for ED (what's with all the vowels?), the highest-selling over-the-counter (OTC?) sexual treatments are not only unproven, but may also be harmful.

According to newswise.com, from horny goat weed to ginseng and maca, over-the-counter dietary supplements sold to improve male sexual health contain a wide variety of “natural” ingredients. Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center reviewed the scientific evidence for the most common ingredients to determine if they are effective – and most importantly – safe.

“While certain natural supplements we reviewed show promise for improving mild sexual dysfunction, they lack robust human evidence,” says Ryan Terlecki, M.D., associate professor of urology and senior author. “In addition, because of concerns that some products are impure or weak, we do not routinely recommend these products to our patients.”

For some products, there is no scientific evidence to support claims that can positively impact erectile function, libido and sexual performance. And perhaps most troubling, some products that are advertised as being “natural,” contain traces of phosphodiesterase-5-inhibitors (PDE5Is), the same class of medication that includes prescription drugs such as Viagra®, used to treat erectile dysfunction. One study revealed that 81 percent of tested samples of over-the-counter products purchased in the U.S. and Asia contained PDE5Is.

“PDE5Is cannot yet be legally sold over the counter in this country,” says Terlecki. “Men who use these medications without a physician’s supervision run the risk of taking them inappropriately. Patients with advanced heart disease, for example, or who take nitrates, such as nitroglycerin, should not use PDE5Is as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. Likewise, men with severe liver impairment or end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis should avoid these products.”

You're not alone. 

An estimated 40 to 70 percent of men experience some form of sexual dysfunction during their lives. Due to concern regarding costs of prescription drugs, or embarrassment over discussing sexual concerns with their physicians, some men turn to over-the-counter products, newswise.com reports.

“There is a dizzying array of formulations available and the health effects of nutraceuticals are often confusing to patients and medical practitioners alike,” Terlecki says. “Patients are paying more than $5 per day to take products with no proven effectiveness."

I doubt these people strolling on the beach knew that. 



 



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