Suspicious and shady sellers peddle sexual enhancement medicines at makeshift stalls on the street or through online sources, exploiting the insecurities and anxieties of consumers. They may make exaggerated claims that their products are “all natural” and can "prolong your sexual stamina" or miraculously cure medical conditions such as erectile dysfunction or impotency. However, the risks from taking these products may lead to serious side effects, including death.
Why sexual enhancement products bought from dubious sources are dangerous and should be avoided:
- They may be counterfeit. Sexual enhancement medicines such as sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil are prescription medicines which should only be obtained from doctors or from pharmacists with a doctor’s prescription. Such medicines sold by dubious sellers can be counterfeit or fake. These products may be contaminated, contain the wrong ingredient or wrong amount of the ingredient, or contain no active ingredient.
- They are of poor quality and may contain undeclared prescription medicines. Products from dubious sources are often produced under poor manufacturing conditions with no quality control by unscrupulous persons who have little regard for human health. They usually contain undeclared western medicinal ingredients or toxic ingredients in varying proportions (e.g. there could be an overdose), or contain ingredients not stated on the packaging.
- They are not guaranteed to work. The claims made regarding the effects of illegal products should be viewed with caution, as they are not backed by scientific evidence or clinical studies.
- Medical conditions require proper diagnosis and treatment. There are many causes for erectile dysfunction, including chronic illnesses, psychological factors and poor lifestyle. A medically trained professional can help to diagnose the root cause and work with you on appropriate treatments. In addition, medicines used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction are prescription-only medicines and should only be used under strict medical supervision as they may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions and can cause serious side effects.
Diabetic medicine was added to sexual enhancement products bought from dubious sources
In April 2008, a 49-year-old-man was admitted to the hospital unconscious with fits and stroke-like symptoms. He had to be treated in the Intensive Care Unit. His doctor reported that he had been consuming a counterfeit version of the erectile dysfunction medicine Cialis. Glibenclamide, a prescription medicine used to treat diabetes, was detected in the man’s blood and urine. He passed away two weeks later due to brain injuries caused by severe low blood sugar and a chest infection that led to septicaemia (blood poisoning).
In May 2008, a 73-year-old man was found unconscious by his family members and sent to hospital. He was tested to have low blood sugar and was found to have been consuming the sexual enhancement product ‘Zhong Hua Niu Bian’. The diabetic medication glibenclamide was also detected in his blood. As a result, he suffered a stroke which left him paralysed on one side of his body.
In both cases, the men were not diabetics but had unknowingly consumed an overdose of glibenclamide, which was added illegally to the sexual enhancement products. Unfortunately, this had resulted in very serious and deadly adverse effects.
It is important to talk to your doctor if you are suffering from a medical condition such as erectile dysfunction. Do not self-medicate with medicines or products from unknown sources – they are dangerous and can cause serious harm to your health.