Herbal Viagra; Miracle or Myth?

Herbal or natural medicines are now becoming more popular with many people now self-medicating common ailments with these ancient remedies and Viagra is no exception to this. Herbal Viagra is the term used to describe herbal or natural medicine treatments to treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and stems from the branded drug Viagra which contains Sildenafil Citrate, which is used to treat male impotence.

SuccesfulAs many as 26% of men in the UK have experienced male impotence and so unsurprisingly, there is a massive market for treatments to the condition. For some men who have tried Viagra or a similar alternative and been unsatisfied with the results or, for men who prefer herbal/natural medication to conventional treatments they have turned to herbal Viagra. But what should you know before embarking on this less conventional route of treatment?

 

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Firstly, it is important to note that herbal medications have not in any way underwent the same rigorous testing as conventional FDA approved products and so they cannot be guaranteed in terms of their actual performance. This is because unlike other medication they have not participated in clinical trials; a crucial step in the manufacturing of a drug which involves testing the medication on many people in a range of conditions over many years. It is an essential process which ultimately determines how well this drug actually works and without it how can anyone know how effective the real treatment is? The process of clinical trials are also important in examining for any potential side effects or other health concerns and so as a result herbal treatments which have not been involved in this kind of testing cannot be assured in terms of their safety either.

Looking at the types of herbal Viagra, there are many available on the internet and so for convenience in this article we will consider the most popular choices;

  • Arginine; Arginine is perhaps the most common treatment of this variety of medicines and is thought to help relieve the symptoms of male impotence by its action on the heart and blood circulation; it is thought to work by increasing blood flow. Despite its popularity, medical research has shown that Arginine works no better than a placebo alternative.
  • Korean Red Ginseng: This is another product which readers may be familiar with from seeing it in a local health store being advertised for improving the immune system, concentration levels, cognitive function and heart health. Ginseng was also believed to help sexual function; however, there has never been a substantial clinical trial to confirm this.
  • Horny Goat Weed; Legend has it that a shepherd observed his goats becoming ‘stimulated’ after eating the active ingredient in Horny Goat Weed; Epimedium, however, how much of this is actually true is still unclear. What is more known is that Horny Goat Weed has shown very little effect in improving the symptoms of male impotence. It should be noted though that some research has shown this product does actually contain a similar active ingredient to that in Viagra but because it is in such a small amount it doesn’t induce an effect.
  • Yohimbine; Yohimbine’s active ingredient comes from the bark of a tree found in Central Africa which is thought to act by widening the blood vessels, which would treat erectile dysfunction by increasing the amount of blood to the penis. Yohimbine is not an approved product for the treatment of male impotence and is thought to have dangerous side effects.

Safe Viagra Sildenafil In Your handsAs mentioned, herbal or natural medicines don’t always mean safe either, despite the promising-sounding name. Indeed, nor are they without side effects and because the quantity or quality of the ingredients contained in these products are unclear the side effects can be variable and unpredictable in nature. The most common adverse reactions to herbal treatments are abnormally low blood pressure, restriction of blood flow to vital organs and possible toxicity in high concentrations. As well as side effects, drug interactions are also common such as those discussed above in regards to Yohimbine. Despite this, one of the most common problems of herbal Viagra is lack of efficacy; many users fail to see an improvement in symptoms following herbal Viagra treatment.

Furthermore, many of these herbal treatments stem from old Chinese practices and so many herbal Viagra users have turned to websites to purchase something more ‘authentic’. This has presented many problems as not only can these medicines not be assured to have the same high standards of manufacturing or regulation which medicines in the UK have undergone they are also potentially many of them are very dangerous. One notorious case of this was ‘Jia Yi Jian'; a herbal Viagra sold by a Chinese based company which markets the remedy as a ‘100% natural solution, which can be taken regularly, without the harmful side effects and risks often caused by similar western remedies’.

This product was analysed by the MHRA (a medicines regulatory board) to contain up to four times the levels of the pharmaceuticals contained within legal prescription-only medications. Indeed, it was found to contain undeclared ingredients such as Sibutramine (a drug used to treat obesity), Tadalafil (a drug used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction). Potential side effects of these medicines include significant blood pressure and heart problems, as well as potentially harmful drug interactions with blood pressure and heart disease medications and some antidepressants. The MHRA has warned that this product presents a ‘clear risk’ to consumers and advises anyone who has taken this medication to see their GP at once.

In relation to this, buying medicines online is often a risky business due to a large number of counterfeit products found on the internet. Many of the cheap alternatives to medicines (including herbal products), that seem too good to be true generally are! Increasingly medicines purchased online contain no actual medication as well as traces of harmful toxins. However, it is important to acknowledge that Viagra can be purchased safely online but only from registered sellers such as a registered pharmacy like Assured Pharmacy. Purchasing Viagra from an accredited seller means not only are you promised the correct medication but also the medication will be delivered in the safest possible way via the instruction of a doctor or other healthcare professional.

Herbal Viagra is not available for purchase at Assured Pharmacy for the reasons listed above but primarily because it is not shown to be safe or effective; two factors of the utmost importance to us. For approved treatments of male impotence which patients can trust visit our website for more information.

 

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Product Description

How does Viagra and Sildenafil work?

Viagra (Sildenafil) helps men to get and maintain an erection when sexually stimulated and/or excited. The medicine relaxes the blood vessels in the penis which results in more blood flowing to the penis when you are sexually excited.

How do I take it?

You should take Viagra (Sildenafil) approximately 1 hour before planning to have intercourse. Within a window of between 30 minutes and 4 hours after you take the medicine, it will be easier to keep and maintain an erection when you are sexually excited. If you take this medicine after a meal with a high fat content it may take a little longer to start working. This medicine will only work when you are sexually excited. You won’t get an erection just by taking Viagra (Sildenafil).

Dosage

The standard recommended dose for Viagra (Sildenafil) is 50mg and this will be suitable for most people.  If this dose is not effective, you can try 100mg and if 50mg gives you side effects you can also reduce the dose to 25mg tablets.

You must not take more than 100mg daily of Sildenafil/ Viagra. Clinical trials have been conducted in patients taking up to 200mg sildenafil and it was found that ‘doses of 200mg did not result in increased efficacy but did increase the incidence of adverse reactions (headache, flushing, dizziness, dyspepsia, nasal congestion, and altered vision).’

In addition, in patients taking more than 100mg daily, there have been reports of rhabdomyolysis (a breakdown in skeletal muscle tissue the byproducts of which can lead to kidney failure), visual perception changes, vertebral artery dissection (a tear in the artery supplying blood to the brain), heart attacks and aggressive behaviour.

If the 100mg strength doesn’t work for you, there may be alternatives you can try and we recommend that you call us for a free consultation with our pharmacist or doctor to discuss any underlying conditions you may have. We recommend that all men taking medicine for erectile dysfunction have regular tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and hormone imbalances. For instance, it may be that by fixing a hormone imbalance such as testosterone, your Viagra medication will be even more effective.

In addition, drug manufacturers do not advise patients to split tablets in half to get the correct dosage as they cannot guarantee that the active ingredient will be distributed evenly throughout the tablet.  For instance, if you cut a 100mg tablet in two, you may find that you get 80mg in one half of the tablet and 20mg in the other half leading to either an overdose (increased risk of side effects) or a suboptimal dose (the medication may not work).

It is important that you choose the correct dose for you. If you wish to talk to our pharmacist or doctor about this, please contact us in the pharmacy on 01625 460621 or email [email protected]

Side Effects

Viagra (Sildenafil) is normally well tolerated, however, side effects can include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Side effects normally subside after a few hours, however, if you experience a prolonged or painful erection (longer than 4 hours), then you must contact your doctor immediately.

Drug interactions

There are a number of medicines which interact with Sildenafil/ Viagra. For an exhaustive list please see the patient information leaflet (see section below) or call us in the pharmacy to discuss your specific situation. The main drug interactions are listed here:

Recreational drugs such as ‘poppers’ or amyl nitrate
Alpha blockers used for urinary retention or blood pressure problems (eg Flomax or Cardura)
Anti- arrhythmic drugs such as disopyramide
Antibiotics such as erythromycin
Antifungals such as itraconazole
Antivirals such as drugs used to treat HIV
Bosentan
Cobicistat
Calcium channel blockers to treat blood pressure and angina such as amlodipine
Dapoxetine (Priligy – used to treat premature ejaculation)
Grapefruit juice**
Nicorandil
Nitrates
Riociguat
Cimetidine (to treat stomach ulcers)

Please do not take Sildenafil/Viagra if you have taken any of the above drugs within the last 60 days without first consulting with either us in the Pharmacy ([email protected] / 01625 460621) or via email with our doctor [email protected]

**We advise not to take Sildenafil/Viagra with grapefruit juice as the blood concentration of Sildenafil will possibly be increased resulting in side effects.

Patient Information Leaflets

Please click here for the patient information leaflet for Viagra.

For Actavis Sildenafil please see the following leaflets: 100mg, 50mg, 25mg.

Storing Medicines Safely

Please keep your medicine out of the reach of children and store at room temperature.  Unwanted medicine can be disposed of by returning it to any local pharmacy or indeed to us here for us to dispose of it for you.

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 References:

  1.  http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/04April/Pages/HerbalErectionDrugWarning.aspx
  2. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-ginseng
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbal_viagra

 

Assured Pharmacy is not liable for the currency or accuracy of the information contained in this blog post. For specific information about your personal medical condition, please contact our doctors or pharmacists for advice on [email protected].

One thought on “Herbal Viagra; Miracle or Myth?

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