Many people take it for granted that if medication can be found on the shelves, it must be a legitimate remedy or treatment, especially in the case of medication purported to be natural or homeopathic. In truth, however, many of these drugs, including sexual enhancement remedies, are not properly tested by researchers and may not meet the standards set by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). In essence, these products may not be safe for personal use even though they are widely marketed. By using untested products, consumers make themselves vulnerable to further health issues caused by the drugs.
Erectile dysfunction is caused when the levels of testosterone decrease as a male ages. This period of change in the reproductive system is known as andropause. The lowered levels make it difficult to maintain an erection for an appropriate amount of time. There are several medical options that are legalized in the United States to help males with erectile dysfunction. However, many people today are turning to products that claim to be more natural or less intrusive. For many of these alternative products, there is no legitimate proof that they have been researched at length and tested against control groups.
One of the primary purposes of the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is to inform consumers about the legitimacy of products and to curb deceptive marketing and products that may not be above board. Among their issued advisories is a warning that dispels several claims put forth by manufacturers of impotence treatments. It includes a reminder to consumers to always consult with their doctor before following a treatment for impotence and to beware of advertising phrases such as “scientifically proven”, “all natural”, “herbal” or “break-throughs”.
A 2006 study by the FDA announced that after analysis of several supplements marketed as impotence treatments, they found that the substances contained dangerous and illegal elements. The companies marketing these products were subsequently served with written notification to cease their sales in the United States. The following year, based on the findings of the study, the FDA implemented a regulation dictation that supplement and drug manufacturers clearly list the all the ingredients in their product and also refrain from adding any impure substances. Despite this new ruling, several groups have remarked that it is still not mandatory for manufacturers to prove the safety of their anti-impotence supplements.
A prime example of fraudulent marketing of impotence supplements is Enzyte, produced by Berkeley Premium Nutraceticals. According their television advertisements and website, Enzyte would increase penis sizes up to three inches and reduce the effects of andropause and erectile dysfunction. The company sold millions of dollars worth of product before thousands of complaints started pouring in stating that the product didn’t work. Notably, the company was never required to show proof of categorical scientific testing since Enzyte is a herbal supplement. Although Berkeley Nutraceticals was indicted and found guilty of several charges, they still sell their products to unsuspecting customers today.
Advice for Patients and Pharmacists
Patients, pharmacists and physicians alike should be wary of unproven claims regarding impotence supplements or drugs and do the appropriate research before following any treatments. One way to check is to find out whether scientific studies included testing with placebos and control groups. It is also important to ensure that the ingredients do not fall into the FDA’s list of harmful substances. A pharmacist is permitted to demand evidence of safety or ingredients from the manufacturer before recommending it to patients. When suspecting andropause or erectile dysfunction, patients should always verify the symptoms with their doctor first and seek their professional advice, instead of turning to over the counter remedies. In some cases, it could be symptoms of some other underlying issue so professional confirmation is always recommended. When researching male enhancement products, remember that if there is ever a doubt about any drug or supplement, it is best to be safe and stay away from it.
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