Can you use OTC to treat ED?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects millions of men worldwide. More than 30 million people are suffering from ED in the United States alone. People over 70 are more likely to have ED, but even men over the age of 20 may have ED.
Fortunately, treatments with over-the-counter (OTC) can help with this condition.
Types of Treatment
There are many treatment options for the treatment of ED, including:
injectable or suppository drugs
Three effective prescription medicines listed below
Potential OTC Treatments
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), found naturally in some soy products and yams, showed healthy and positive results in low doses. In fact, DHEA is also used to treat Alzheimer's disease symptoms and can be used to build muscle strength. The site of the National Health Institutes (NIH) states that DHEA is "probably successful" in the treatment of ED.
DHEA can help increase low libido in women in addition to possibly helping with ED in men. Be vigilant, however, of items that promote "normal" DHEA. Apparently, the human body can not generate DHEA from consuming products that contain it, so any suggestion that a substance can provide "normal" DHEA to the body is incorrect.
By enhancing blood flow to the penis, L-arginine may treat ED. It can also lead to severe cramping and nausea, however.
Experiments that support L-arginine's effectiveness as an ED treatment also combine L-arginine with other popular ED drugs such as yohimbine and glutamate. As a result, L-arginine's true efficacy as an ED intervention is not well known. For measuring hormone levels and treating individuals with metabolic alkalosis, L-arginine has been proven successful. Nonetheless, more work on its ability to treat ED needs to be done before it can be approved for ED care by the FDA.
The NIH says Yohimbe is "probably successful" for ED, but the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that it is unclear if Yohimbe benefits ED. Yohimbe has been associated with a number of side effects, including elevated blood pressure and heart rate.
Because these are supplements and not prescription drugs, the FDA advises that they are not entirely safe or effective. In fact, the sum of active ingredients may not be consistent in products containing such supplements.
Some powerful herbs have not been tested on humans in the treatment of animal ED. For example, in animals, Epimedium has contributed to improved sexual performance but has not yet been tested on human subjects.
FDA Warnings and Risks
It is important to note that OTC drugs for ED in the medical community have often sparked controversy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned of the "hidden dangers" of products sold online for the treatment of ED. The FDA has published a list of 29 online OTC drugs to be avoided, generally known as "dietary supplements." The FDA has not licensed such products for sale, and many of them contain harmful ingredients.
Many ED therapies may be successful for OTC, but the FDA advises that they might not be safe. Some dietary supplements sold online contain non-labeled ingredients and these ingredients may be harmful to some people who eat them.
Potentially Harmful Side Effects
Many consumers may also encounter harmful side effects from the unlisted ingredients. Such OTC medications may interfere with other medicines taken for ED, which may make the supplements unsafe. Drugs used for other conditions in these OTC medications may also have dangerous reactions with drugs. Using an OTC containing sildenafil together with a drug containing nitrates, such as diabetes drugs or heart disease, can cause a harmful drop in blood pressure.
Most often used to treat pulmonary hypertension are ED medications such as sildenafil, vardenafil, and tadalafil. Research shows that it can cause problems to combine ED therapies that contain these drugs with nitrates or alpha-blockers.
Talk to your doctor before you seek an OTC ED treatment and always make sure that an herbal or dietary supplement has been licensed or at least checked by a reputable organization such as the FDA or NIH. Many treatment options may help solve ED problems, but you may not find a successful treatment for ED problems without testing or medical advice.