Want Viagra? 'Not So Fast,' Says Lady Lawmaker

news-icon.jpgA South Carolina lawmaker wants to give male legislators a taste of their own medicine, by introducing a bill intended to show men what it's like to have their reproductive rights meddled with.

The bill would require men seeking Viagra, Cialis, or any other erectile dysfunction medication to go through the same hoops women must endure when seeking an abortion, like a 24-hour waiting period and counseling sessions, "including sexual counseling and resources for patients to pursue celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice."

Other requirements include a note from at least one sexual partner confirming that the patient has experienced ED symptoms, and submitting to an exam by a state-licensed sex therapist, to make sure the ED isn't attributable to "other psychological factors."

The bill is being introduced by South Carolina state Rep. Mia McLeod (D-Columbia), who said, "I purposely tried to make it as invasive, as intrusive, as hypocritical and unnecessary as possible to make the point." McLeod doesn't expect the bill to get any traction, but hopes her point is taken by her male colleagues.

This isn't the first time a legislator has proposed such a bill. In 2012, two Ohio lawmakers, state Sen. Nina Turner and state Rep. Ted Celeste, introduced similar bills aimed at restricting men's access to Viagra to highlight inequities in reproductive rights. Celeste's bill, in fact, went even further, requiring men to get rectal prostate exams.

McLeod's bill is relatively lenient by comparison, requiring the fellas to just take a seat and chill, rather than bend over.

two new Marine Corps Harrier jets or 45 Tomahawk cruise missiles Recorder Journal http://recorderjournal.com/2015/12/16/viagra-is-a-50-million-pentagon-budget-item/
two new Marine Corps Harrier jets or 45 Tomahawk cruise missiles Recorder Journal http://recorderjournal.com/2015/12/16/viagra-is-a-50-million-pentagon-budget-item/
two new Marine Corps Harrier jets or 45 Tomahawk cruise missiles Recorder Journal http://recorderjournal.com/2015/12/16/viagra-is-a-50-million-pentagon-budget-item/
two new Marine Corps Harrier jets or 45 Tomahawk cruise missiles Recorder Journal http://recorderjournal.com/2015/12/16/viagra-is-a-50-million-pentagon-budget-item/
two new Marine Corps Harrier jets or 45 Tomahawk cruise missiles Recorder Journal http://recorderjournal.com/2015/12/16/viagra-is-a-50-million-pentagon-budget-item/

Anonymous to ISIS: Take a Magic Blue Chill Pill

news-icon.jpgAs anyone who manages a website can tell you, being hacked is one of the worst things. It's annoying, costs time and money to fix, and damages your reputation. Frequently, such hacks make it appear that your site is selling erectile dysfunction drugs, which just adds insult to injury for most people.

Normally, we abhor such hackers for giving a bad name to legitimate online pharmacies or informational sites like ours. But in a rare role-reversal, the Viagra hackers are now the good guys, and they chose a target that couldn't be more worthy: ISIS.

Following the devastating terrorist attacks on Paris, the hack-tivist group Anonymous released a video putting ISIS on notice that the organization was now in their cyber-sabotage sights.

They were quick to make good on their threat, as Ghost Sec, an Anonymous-affiliated group, hacked an ISIS website and turned it into a temporary Viagra pharmacy. Instead of promoting jihad against Western depravity, the site encouraged visitors to chill out and buy some happy pills as an antidote to "Too much ISIS."

The usual propaganda was replaced with a message to "Enhance your calm," along with an ad linking to a pharmacy where visitors could purchase Viagra and Prozac with bitcoin. "Please gaze upon this lovely ad," the message continued, "so we can upgrade our infrastructure to give you ISIS content you all so desperately crave."

Although in the grand scheme, the hack is a minor setback for ISIS, it serves to make the jihadists look ridiculous, and controverts the tech-savvy image they try to project.

While we certainly don't condone website hacking in general, we applaud Anonymous for finding a creative way to say "Make love, not war."

Lawmakers Get Real About Fake (Herbal) Viagra

news-icon.jpgLamar Odom's recent near-fatal brothel misadventure has brought herbal "male enhancement" products under new scrutiny, and now New York state Senators Jose Peralta and Jeff Klein are calling for a ban on these so-called herbal Viagra supplements commonly sold in convenience stores, in a crackdown similar to the one a few years ago that was directed at  "bath salts."

Because the pills are labelled as "dietary supplements" and their ingredient lists include herbs and seemingly innocuous substances like caffeine, consumers may get the impression that the products are safe. In reality, the pills are manufactured in countries where there is little or no oversight of production. FDA tests have discovered actual pharmaceuticals in these over-the-counter products, including dapoxetine (Priligy), sildenafil (Viagra), and tadalafil (Cialis).

"I am not here to ruin a party or to spoil anyone's fun," said Senator Peralta. "But, in a vast majority of cases, the true contents of these products are unknown to consumers, making their use very unsafe. The inherent danger is real."

Senator Klein says the ban is necessary because the FDA has not taken aggressive enough action. Of Odom's case, which involved a supplement called Reload, he said: "This incident raises serious concerns about FDA enforcement of prescription drugs. The FDA knew that Reload and other 'herbal supplements' like it on the market contain the active ingredient used in Viagra, but only issued public notifications instead of recalling the products from shelves."

The sales ban would have consequences for businesses such as mini-markets, corner stores, and gas stations that typically sell packets of the pills at the counter. Local law agencies would be responsible for enforcement, violators would be fined, and after three violations, would have their license to sell alcohol, cigarettes, and lottery tickets revoked. The legislation would apparently not affect online retailers.

Did 'Herbal' Viagra Cause Lamar Odom's Health Crisis?

news-icon.jpgNews came Tuesday night of former NBA champ Lamar Odom's hospitalization after being found unresponsive in a Nevada brothel. Odom is still unconscious and in critical condition, and his chances for recovery seem tenuous.

According to those at the scene, Odom had used some recreational drugs during his stay at the brothel, including cocaine, and had taken at least 10 capsules of an "herbal supplement" that was sold at the establishment.

The supplement in question is a male "performance enhancer" called Reload, and it's on the FDA's hit list as a dangerous product. The ingredients listed on Reload's packaging include various herbs, such as gotu kola and tribulus terrestris. However, laboratory analysis has shown that the capsules actually contain some sildenafil. Yes--it's not just herbal Viagra, it's real Viagra. Maybe that's why the packaging also included a warning not to use the supplement with nitrates (which are also contraindicated with Viagra use).

Tabloid sources have reported that Odom had "every drug imaginable" in his system, and the cocaine use is confirmed, so it's unclear whether the supplement had a significant impact on his condition. However, if it did contain sildenafil, it could have interacted with other drugs to cause or complicate a bad reaction.

The incident may bring attention to the hazards of unregulated "herbal Viagra" supplements, which could contain real pharmaceuticals.

35 Viagra Pills for Laughs, Not So Funny After All

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgHere's a cautionary tale that shows you one reason it's wise not to mix alcohol with Viagra: Daniel Medforth, a 26-year-old U.K. man who was joking around with some drinking buddies, found himself in a world of hurt after downing 35 Viagra pills within an hour.

Thirty-five? What on earth was he thinking? Planning an epic date-night? The story makes a little more sense when we learn that he and his pub-mates had been on a two-day bender.

"My mate brought them downstairs, I just said I'd take one for a laugh and one led to two to three, et cetera," Medforth told The Daily Beast

Bad idea. Very bad idea. This is a good time to remind everyone to a) only take prescription medications like Viagra under a doctor's supervision, b) follow the dosing and directions given by your doctor and pharmacist, and c) never take someone else's medication.

(On a side note, the U.K.'s national health program rations Viagra to one pill per week per patient, so it's curious to begin with that his buddy had 35 tablets on hand. Perhaps he had been hoarding them, or paid extra for them out of pocket. Wonder if Medforth's going to pay his pal back for the loss.)

Anyway, the poor bloke ended up with a "massive erection" that wouldn't go away, along with some other unpleasant symptoms: "I ended up feeling sick, dizzy and hallucinating -- everything I saw was green." (Having the visual field turn greenish is an uncommon but know side effect of Viagra. If you're a sildenafil user and you start seeing green, contact your doctor.)

He got a dressing down from his doctors, angered his wife (did he expect she'd be happy to have him come home hopped up on Viagra?), and spent two days in the hospital. Even when he got out, Medforth lived with the aftereffects for days: his painful and hypersensitive member sprang up at the slightest touch, giving him continual but "useless" erections.

All things considered, he was lucky. Excessive Viagra use resulted in the amputation of a Colombian man's penis (he'd had an erection for several days before seeking medical attention, and gangrene had set in), and a fatal heart attack for a Russian man who took a bottle of the drug while engaging in a 12-hour sex marathon.

As it was, Medforth just had to suffer through some pain and embarrassment, and a hard week. A very hard week.

Busted for One Blue Pill; Suing for the Humiliation

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgWow, what a way to ruin date night. Imagine getting stopped, searched, and cuffed, all for the heinous crime of having a single Viagra pill on your person.

That's what happened recently to a Brooklyn man, Earl McLeod, who was pulled over while driving. After ordering McLeod and his three passengers out of the vehicle to conduct a search, the arresting officer said he saw McLeod drop an ibuprofen bottle on the ground, which turned out to contain a single Viagra tablet. 

In a bit of a legal overreach, the officer charged McLeod with illicit possession of a controlled substance. Seriously?

Do you think the police officer really believed Viagra is "a controlled substance"? Or was he just harassing the guy? It may be a misdemeanor violation to have a prescription drug without a prescription, but it's not like it was OxyContin. 

The irony is, probably, by putting the pill in an ibuprofen bottle, the guy wasn't trying to hide or conceal the drug for illicit reasons -- he was just trying to be discreet. Well, that backfired.

What does this mean for all the folks who carry their Viagra in pill cases or some other container, or who carry a loose blister pack or one of Pfizer's new single-dose packets? Does this mean you have to carry your prescription with you, and be prepared to show your papers if you get patted down? 

You can ask Rush Limbaugh about that. Remember back in 2006 when he got detained in an airport for having a bottle of Viagra? In that case, it looked even sketchier, because the prescription bottle had someone else's name on it. But again, according to Rush, it was a matter of discretion: the prescription was under his doctor's name to protect Limbaugh's privacy.

Limbaugh didn't get cuffs slapped on him like this poor fellow in Brooklyn. McLeod did appeal, and all charges were dropped. But he's suing the city for false arrest and civil-rights violations, and is demanding monetary compensation for "emotional trauma, embarrassment, and humiliation." 

Factcheck: No, that guy did not inject Viagra into his penis

news-icon.jpgThere's been a lot of guffawing (and cringing) on the web the last few days about a Reddit user who posted his tale of a recent medical misadventure: He injected an ED drug into his penis, got a prolonged and painful erection, and had to seek attention at an emergency room.

The title of his post is "TIFU by injecting Viagra into my penis" (if you don't know what TIFU stands for, see this definition), so news outlets can't be entirely blamed for getting it wrong (and "Viagra-like drug" falls a little flat in a headline). It's an entertaining if horrifying read, and he managed to keep a sense of humor about the situation.

But let's clear up some misinformation:

    1. He did not inject Viagra; the drug he injected was TriMix.
    2. TriMix is supposed to be injected into the penis, so the delivery method was correct. (A topical gel form of TriMix exists for those who can't face the needle.)
    3. He was not using the drug to treat erectile dysfunction, and misrepresented his condition so he could make his already healthy sexual function (he said he was usually able to stay erect for 1-1.5 hours) super-human. (Or as he said, "I got a little greedy.")
You can read his post for all the gory details, but the short version is that he and his wife are swingers who recently joined a sex club, and he wanted to be able to go at it all night long with multiple partners. He told a doctor he had ED and obtained prescriptions for more common drugs like Viagra and Cialis, but when they failed to increase his stamina enough, he went for the TriMix. It worked on the first try -- too well. He ended up painfully engorged for hours and had to have blood drained from his penis in the ER. 

The one thing he did do right in this situation is that he got emergency medical treatment when he realized the situation wasn't improving (and by that time, he was in so much pain, he really didn't have a choice). This is why the Viagra commercials have that 4-hour warning: if you've been continuously erect for that long, the circulation in your penis has basically stopped, the cells are at risk of dying, and you're at risk of losing your member. It's just like if you had a tourniquet on a limb for too long. So if you experience anything like this, steel yourself against your embarrassment and get to the nearest hospital immediately.

So, has anyone ever actually injected Viagra? Not that we know of, and hopefully no one will get any ideas from this incident and try it. 

As for the original poster, amazingly, he says he plans to try it again, just using a smaller dose. I think he deserves a special Darwin Award for that. 
news-icon.jpgAsia has caught up with or is surpassing the West in many arenas -- like technology and trade -- but, according to some, the East still lags on a surprising front: the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

In a recent article, NewsAsia quoted the Director of the Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, saying that the region "lagged behind by about a decade" in the treatment of ED compared to most developed countries.

Really? Or does the region just lag by a decade in Viagra sales -- because it seems like that may be how they're quantifying this claim.

The article cited cultural reasons for the ED divide: erectile dysfunction is still seen in some cultures as a sign of personal failure or weakness, and men are reluctant to discuss it with partners or doctors out of shame.

Maybe we should take this assessment with a grain of salt, given that it's coming from a Western doctor seated in front of backdrop covered with Pfizer logos.

Chances are, Asian men are seeking out treatments -- not the kind that come in prescription pill bottles, but the kind that have been used for hundreds of years nonetheless.

Asian men might also be more comfortable discussion their performance issues with an herbalist or traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner as opposed to a Western physician.

While the urology expert emphasized that it's time to start regarding ED as a health issue, rather than a performance or quality of life issue, that's exactly the stance that TCM has taken: ED is seen as a symptom of chi deficiency, usually from the kidneys, and is treated holistically.

According to TCM specialist Doctor He Yumin, "TCM remedies [for yang wei] have existed for centuries. And barring extreme cases, [it] can be easily remedied."

TCM treatments to boost libido include herbs such as ginseng, reishi mushrooms, and more exotic items like deer antler and ox, goat, and tiger penis (the last one is discouraged because it has led to poaching and the decline of endangered animals). Contrary to popular belief, rhinoceros horn is not prescribed as an aphrodisiac (it's used to treat fever, rheumatism, and other illnesses).

Dr. He also emphasizes the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, reducing stress, eating a balanced diet, and so on.

And...perhaps this is where Viagra needs to step in. Because a greater portion of the Asian population now leads a Westernized lifestyle -- complete with its stresses and dietary pitfalls -- TCM treatments may prove less effective or viable.

Who knows, maybe in another 10 years the Pfizer/Viagra logo will be displayed as a status symbol in Singapore.

Viagra: Now in Single-Serving Packets

news-icon.jpgIn an effort to perk up sagging sales, Pfizer has debuted a new packaging format for Viagra: the single-pill packet. Call it the "Fun Size" version of our favorite pharmaceutical. 

The single-dose packets are designed to appeal to guys on the go and those who want to use Viagra while away from home. It will be interesting to see if Pfizer works the spontaneity angle, since its "latency time" after ingestion has been one of its drawbacks, and rival Cialis has pushed nookie at a moment's notice as a selling point in its ad campaigns.

The single-pill packets certainly are more convenient, and it makes sense to have easy to carry, easy to open, more portable and more discreet packaging.. 

Unlike bulky bottles and those rigid blister packs with their rough edges and pointy corners, the new packaging is flexible and both pocket and wallet-friendly, similar to other single-dose drug packets, like Advil. And, probably not coincidentally, the square, silver foil envelope looks strikingly like a wrapped condom

The new packaging option is already available, so you can expect to see them at local pharmacies as soon as they can be stocked. There is no additional cost for the single-dose packets, and insurers will treat them the same as Viagra packaged in other formats. 

The new packaging format seems to be part of a push by Pfizer to revive the Viagra brand and stay competitive with other ED treatments. Last year the company rolled out a refreshed ad campaign featuring attractive female spokespersons ("Guys, let's talk about erectile dysfunction...") and in August, it will make home delivery available through CVS to spare men the embarrassment of collecting their prescription in person. 

Of course, you always have an option for home delivery of Viagra right here.
Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgThis last week we've seen a good object lesson in that scientific adage: Correlation does not equal causation. 

In 2014, researchers released a study associating sildenafil use with melanoma in U.S. men. The scientists were cautious about drawing any direct causal relationship between the drug and the occurance of skin cancer, but the report was enough to stir up a bit of a scare. Some men undoubtedly stopped taking or decreased their use of Viagra because of it (and some probably reduced their sun exposure instead).  

Now it seems to have been debunked by a doctor who decided to slice and dice the data a little differently.

Urologist Stacy Loeb of New York University took it on herself to look further into the data and the study, in part so she could know how to advise her own patients about the use of ED drugs. She was able to find comparable data about ED drug users from Sweden, which at first seemed to confirm the results of the U.S. study. The data from Sweden also included users of Levitra and Cialis. 

However, when Loeb dug deeper, she found that the relationship between use of ED drugs and melanoma was not as simple as it appeared. When analyzing the data further, Loeb found that rates of melanoma did not increase with the amount or frequency of ED drug use, how many years patients had used them, or the half-life of the drugs (the amount of time they stay in the body). So if ED drugs weren't contributing melanoma, what was?

The apparent answer: socioeconomic status. Call it Lifestyles of the Rich and Virile. Men who can afford Viagra and other ED drugs have more disposable income and have lifestyles that in general put them at higher risk for developing melanoma -- Caribbean vacations, weekends on the golf course, you get the idea. (True, Sweden's healthcare system does cover ED drugs, but it uses a rationing system similar to other countries with national healthcare, so a steady supply would come out of pocket.)

This theory was reinforced when Loeb found similar rates of basal cell carcinoma (a sun-related skin cancer) in the patients with melanoma, indicating there were likely behavioral factors at play. 

So what's the upshot of all this? Loeb says she now focuses on the well-established side effects and health risks of Viagra when counseling patients, since the link to skin cancer seems questionable, but does advise men to take standard precautions such as wearing sunscreen and getting moles checked. Good advice for anyone, regardless of whether you use an ED drug.