Thursday, September 6, 2012

Urologists warn buying fake Viagra online

Men in New Zealand had been warned against self-prescribing drugs for erectile dysfunction and purchasing them from online sources to avoid serious health consequences.

According to Dr Stephen Ruthven, President of the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand, recent research indicates versions of Viagra found on the internet are fake and contain far less of the active ingredient than the real thing.

In an analysis of pills from 22 different websites claiming to sell the drug, 77% of samples were counterfeit and contained only between 30% and 50% of the levels of active ingredient advertised on its label.

The analysis was conducted by Irwin Goldstein, MD of San Diego Sexual Medicine and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, and reported at the World Meeting on Sexual Medicine.

"Even more concerning, is the fact that many of these counterfeit drugs contain other undeclared ingredients such as gypsum which is found in fertiliser, commercial paint and printer ink," says Dr Ruthven.

According to the study's author fakes could also contain other harmful active ingredients, such as other antihypertensive medications.

"The potential health risks of this type of self medication cannot be understated," said Dr Ruthven.

"Many people simply assume they are buying the real product when in fact most online purchases from international sites are illegal counterfeits," Dr Ruthven said.

Fake drugs have become a massive problem largely because of their increased online availability with worldwide sales of counterfeit drugs in 2010 estimated at around $US75 million.

Erectile Dysfunction drugs such as Viagra and Cialis are a target of counterfeiters as the stigma some patients feel about the disorder makes them vulnerable sales targets.

"Unfortunately, the potential embarrassment of discussing erectile dysfunction with a doctor is often what drives people to purchase online, yet men need to know that their doctors are very familiar with the condition and are the only ones fully qualified to diagnose and treat the problem," Dr Ruthven said.

He also expressed concern that men who don't consult their doctor when faced with erectile dysfunction also run the risk of not being diagnosed with other serious health issues.

"It's not uncommon for erectile dysfunction to actually be an indicator of other health risks, such as metabolic syndrome or heart disease," he said.

"By not seeking advice from your GP in the first instance, these could go undiagnosed for some considerable time."

"The Urological Society recommends men experiencing erectile dysfunction should consult their doctor in the first instance and most definitely refrain from self-medication," said Dr Ruthven. (Medianet/AsiaNet)

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