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Understanding “Over the Counter” Erectile Dysfunction Medications

October 9, 2020 |

Let’s first be clear, erectile dysfunction is not a taboo topic.  And the only way to seek the answers to the questions you have about your erections is to start talking about it with your significant other, your medical provider, or seeking one that is an expert in erectile dysfunction.  Erectile dysfunction is a common ailment affecting men, more than 30 million men to be exact.  Incidence increases with increasing age but can happen at any age, even as young as in the 20’s. 

What many men do not realize is that erectile dysfunction is beyond just the capability to get an erection nor is it defined as the complete loss of erections.  ED includes a decrease in erection strength and your ability to last longer, a decline in sensation, maintaining an erection for sexual satisfaction, delayed ejaculation, unable to achieve an erection for intercourse, lack of enjoyment from sexual interactions, and the emotional and mental stressors including avoiding intercourse as a direct result from erection changes. 

Erectile dysfunction can have numerous causes or be a warning sign of a more serious medical condition.  Which again, speaks to the importance of having the conversation and talking about your symptoms.  ED can be a result of aging, hormonal imbalance, conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, prescription and non-prescription medications, drug and alcohol use/abuse, tobacco use, blood flow issues or nerve damage, treatment for prostate cancer, and psychological concerns and stress. 

Turn on the TV and you will see ad after ad for erectile dysfunction treatments, that can be delivered right to your home.  Or a Google search for erectile dysfunction, the pages upon pages of results that can be overwhelming and confusing.  Each product with a claim that they are better than the others.  Not to mention the worn-out conversations of Cialis and Viagra.  But most are willing to try ANYTHING to improve their erections and likely start with what you can obtain without seeing a doctor. 

So, are these over the counter, or nutritional supplements as they should more appropriately be labeled, on TV products worth it?  Do they even help?  The answer is maybe and not that simple.  Dietary supplements including medications for ED are not regulated by the FDA.  What that means for you as a consumer and patient is that there may be unknown risks and side effects that could jeopardize your health.  For example, taking Viagra obtained from an online site in someone with cardiovascular or heart issues, and not monitored by a medical practitioner-could be potentially fatal.   And many of these products contain hidden ingredients such as Viagra or Cialis, which are illegal without a prescription from a medical provider.  Some of these companies add Viagra or Cialis to their product hoping that the FDA won’t test their product for ingredients.  But it is often why patients will find great benefit in that product.  And why you see products disappear from the market; because they got busted and were forced to withdraw the supplement.  As a patient, that’s not meant to scare you but make you aware that even supplements have risks and side effects that can be dangerous. 

Now that doesn’t mean that all over-the-counter products are bad and should be avoided.  They should be used with trusted companies and “clean” ingredients.  There are several options that alone or in combination can provide benefit to patients with erection concerns.  Some of the common ones include L-arginine, pine bark or Pycnogenol, DHEA, Yohimbe, and Propionyl L-carnitine.

L-arginine is an amino acid that acts as a vasodilator, improving blood flow to the penis.  L-arginine is necessary for achieving and maintaining an erection due to its effect on nitric oxide in the nerves.  It works well in combination with Pycnogenol for improving mild to moderate ED, preventing erection concerns, and is safe for daily use.  At Limitless Male, we offer Drive supplement which is our special formulation of L-arginine and Pycnogenol.  Designed by Limitless, with appropriate clinically studied levels of active ingredients and manufactured under cGMP regulations. It means that not only do we know exactly what’s in it, but we know it’s safe. 

DHEA is a steroid hormone that can help support testosterone levels for those with co-morbid testosterone deficiency contributing to erection issues but also help patients with diabetic neuropathy or nerve-related ED. Yohimbe is touted for stimulation of penile blood flow and promotion of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that is vital to attaining an erection.  It has also been shown to enhance orgasm and ejaculation in men.  The downfall to Yohimbe is that its side effect profile includes an elevation in blood pressure and heart rate.  Propionyl L-carnitine is a naturally occurring chemical that is often used to improve blood flow and circulation.  It may improve response to Viagra when used in combination.  Which leads us to the next question…what should you try or what might work for you?

Back to the initial statement of the article, the only way to know your options is to talk about your concerns, have the conversation, and schedule your appointment with the ED experts at Limitless.  It is important to understand that the treatment and prevention of erectile dysfunction is much more than Cialis and Viagra and can be treated.  While it is important to know that most nutritional supplements for erectile dysfunction are meant to be an adjunct to other therapies, for those with mild and sporadic symptoms or as preventative, they are an option!  The ED experts at Limitless have options; like Limitless Drive mentioned earlier available but numerous other treatments, our focus is YOU and your goals-getting you back in the game.  Creating a treatment plan that is safe, designed for you, and with the widest variety of options available is what makes us the experts in Men’s Health.