When it comes to the family jewels, it’s not just about size, it’s also about stiffness. Men take great pride in a strong erection. If you’re a guy who’s having a few problems getting ‘it’ up, down there, you may not wish to admit it, even to a doctor. You might even be tempted to buy erectile dysfunction (ED) medicines on the internet. But did you know internet medicines are often dangerous fakes? And that problems in the erection department may also mean diabetes, heart disease and other serious health conditions?
Buying ED treatments online is an appealing option for many men who want convenience or are embarrassed to talk to their doctor. Unfortunately manufacturers of counterfeit (fake) ED drugs exploit these vulnerabilities and make a fortune selling ineffective and/or dangerous medicines online at the expense of men’s health.
Medications used to treat ED (they’re called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors) are pricey. Even when purchased from cheap internet sites, they cost a lot more than antibiotics and other types of medicines.
Manufacturers of fake drugs sold on the internet keep production costs down (often by using ingredients like talcum powder, which are cheap but completely ineffective). They sell the drugs at expensive prices, and make up to 2000% profit. It’s estimated that manufacturers of fake ED treatments make ten times as much as heroin dealers!
Business is booming in PDE-5 land
With profits like that, it’s little wonder that the sale of fake ED medications has increased so much in recent years. Counterfeit medicines sales have increased by almost 400%, and most of this growth is thought to be because of ED medicines alone.
PDE-5 inhibitors were only approved for sale in the late 1990s, so use of legitimate PDE-5 inhibitors has also increased in recent years. However, these medications have also becomes the most common type of counterfeit drug on the market. In Europe it’s estimated that 2.5 million men buy ED treatments online (the same number as purchase them from legitimate sources like pharmacies).
The dangerous underworld of ED drug dealing
Many men have put their lives at risk – and some have even lost their lives – by taking fake ED drugs. In Australia, these fakes are mostly purchased on the internet.
Fake ED medications can be unhealthy or dangerous for many reasons. Some fake ED treatments contain ingredients which are poisonous. Poisons can be common ingredients (e.g. printer ink for dye), but also include medicines which should not be taken by and can cause life threatening health conditions for the average Joe.
For example, 150 men were hospitalised and 4 died after taking fake ED medication in Singapore. The ED treatment contained a medicine usually taken by diabetics. The medicine is safe for diabetics, but not for healthy men. It caused the men in Singapore (and one in Australia) to develop a life threatening condition called hypoglaceamia (low blood sugar).
A bitter pill to swallow
Medicines may also be dangerous if they contain too much of the right medicine, or ineffective if they contain not enough medicine (or none at all). Men who take these ineffective medicines will continue having erection problems – and that is by no means a small problem. It often leads to depression, problems with self-esteem and relationship problems.
Men who continue struggling to get their old fella up after taking their medicine don’t necessarily go to a doctor. In fact they may be discouraged from doing so, still embarrassed and perhaps think treatment won’t work for them, after their internet failure.
Regardless of whether the drug has an effect, men who purchase online without consulting a doctor (about 30% of men who buy ED medicines from the internet) are putting their health and their lives at risk. It sounds dramatic, but the hidden dangers of online ED treatments go much deeper than the odd deadly outbreak of hypoglaecemia, the condition which hospitalised 150 men in Singapore.
What’s going on in the closet?
All men with ED put their health at risk when they keep their condition in the closet. This is true even if they are lucky enough to get the good imitation medicine from the internet (but beware, only about 10% of fakes are even similar to the medicine they purport to copy).
Erection problems usually occur because of underlying problems with the way blood is transported through the body. Really, it’s that boring and scientific. Even if your mates insist a good hard penis is a sign of manhood and sexual ability, all it really signifies is well functioning veins and arteries.
That’s not to say well functioning arteries and veins aren’t important. They do far more than transport the necessary blood down there, to help get your old fella up at the appropriate moments.
Gangs of health disorders
Transporting blood around the body is a vital function. Problems with blood pressure (e.g. hypertension), heart conditions and metabolic conditions like diabetes mellitus are all more likely if your veins and arteries aren’t functioning properly. And these conditions don’t just cause problems for your sex life, they also put your life at risk.
So it’s not surprising that doctors test men for these conditions when they report erection problems. Men who buy medicines online without consulting a doctor not only put themselves at risk of buying dangerous or ineffective medications, they also miss the opportunity to have checks for heart problems, diabetes and other conditions which commonly occur alongside erectile dysfunction.
Men who are already being treated for these conditions (or others) put themselves at risk of dangerous drug interactions. Some medicines just don’t mix, and men who don’t speak to their doctor, or take fake medicines with unknown ingredients, just don’t know.
But how do I know if she’s faking it?
Sometimes it’s hard to spot a fake. But when it comes to online ED treatments, there are some simple rules which can help you identify frauds.
If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Cheap medicines and miracle promises are probably fakes.
If the online seller doesn’t provide an address or the name of a pharmacist the medicine may well be from a dodgy source. If it’s a prescription medicine and you don’t need a prescription? You guessed it. Most likely a fake.
You may be able to get it without talking to a doctor, but if you approach your doctor, you’ll probably find the experience isn’t so bad. That your doctor treats your erection problem, well, just like any other health problem – as a health issue which needs to be resolved.
Get it up the right way
A strong erection is something most men are proud of. But if you’re having problems getting it up, don’t let pride get in the way of talking to your doctor. Achieving a strong erection doesn’t have to mean putting your health at risk.
Buying ED treatments with a doctor’s prescription not only means you’ll get the right medicine, it also means you’ll get the checks and balances you need. Online medicines may seem cheap and easy, but there are many hidden costs lurking in the closet. It’s not just your erection which will suffer, it’s your entire health.
For more information, see Counterfeit Drugs for Erectile Dysfunction.