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Herbal Viagra: ‘The Wild West of Supplements’

Herbal Viagra: ‘The Wild West of Supplements’

Much like the original Wild West, there’s a lot of unchartered—and dangerous—territory in the world of herbal erectile dysfunction treatments.

Assessing the risk

The least of your problems when purchasing these corner-store pills, liquid shots or dry herbs is that you’re throwing away your hard-earned money. The bigger issue is that what’s in some of these snake oils can hurt you—even KILL you when taken in combination with other drugs.

According to a December 2015 article on Vice.com, “… multiple studies suggest that contaminations with sometimes-massive amounts of pharmaceuticals (or analogues, chemically altered yet unstudied variants of existing pharmaceuticals) affect well over half of all products on the market—tabulations range from 66 to 81 percent.” Not exactly good odds when you’ve got legitimate, regulated options—like Viagra, Levitra and Cialis—available by prescription.

Contraindications with other medications 

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For men who are already taking medications for cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease, contaminants in unregulated herbal supplements can lead to potentially fatal drops in blood pressure.

Still not convinced that “herbal ED treatments” are a bad idea? Consider that one product tested by the FDA was found to have 31 times more tadalafil (the active ingredient in Cialis) than a standard prescription. That means that even if you’re not already taking a prescription for something that could pose a risk when taken in combination with an herbal ED treatment, you could still be putting your life in danger.

How do manufacturers get away with this?

The short version is that the regulations for “herbals” aren’t nearly as stringent as for other products. The manufacturers aren’t required to meet drug testing standards, inform regulators what they contain or use truthful warnings, marketing or packaging.

Until things change for the industry, your best bet for ED treatment is to ask your doctor for a prescription for Viagra, Levitra or Cialis. You can even purchase the pills online through a licensed pharmacy if you’d prefer not to face your local pharmacist.

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About Lisa

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As a journalist Lisa enjoys writing about a variety of topics. Over the course of the last ten years she has been involved in television news as well as print and online publications. Medical news has always been a favorite for this native New Yorker because she gets to stay on top of the latest developments in a rapidly changing field. Lisa Furgison on Google+