June 2, 2009 in Features

Pricey sex pills don’t live up to advertising

Joe And Teresa Graedon
Associated Press photo

Pills to add zest to his sex life left man disappointed.
(Full-size photo)

Q. My wife and I are active, healthy seniors, but we would like to add zest to our slowed-down and lagging sex lives. Initially, I spoke with our family doctor, who prescribed Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

Viagra provided excellent results only the first time I used it. After that, it mostly gave me a headache, stuffy nostrils, warm jowls and flashing blue lights in my eyes. Levitra was the most effective and least offensive of the three, but they all took away any spontaneity. I had to take the pill and wait to see what happened.

So, we responded to a sex-pill ad with an order for three bottles of male sexual potency pills containing amino acids, horny goat weed, maca, ginseng and kola nut extract to be taken twice a day with meals. The ONLY result, after 45 days (well beyond the suggested 30-day trial period), was the painful $150 lump gone out of our family purse.

My question is: Do these promotions, potions and concoctions EVER work for anyone? Are they always a scam, with no benefit to anyone but the sellers? There was NO change in my libido or the other male sex organ benefit promised in the ad.

A. Your results are probably typical. Some of the ingredients in this preparation (ginseng, maca and horny goat weed) appear to increase the body’s production of nitric oxide. So do the prescription drugs Cialis, Levitra and Viagra.

NO helps blood vessels expand and may be important for achieving erections. But that doesn’t mean the supplements would work like the drugs. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any herbal supplements for either improving libido or overcoming erectile dysfunction.

Q. Caution to the sulfite sensitive! My parents swear by gin-soaked raisins for arthritis. I tried them, and after about a week I did notice an increased range of motion. But more importantly, they also triggered a migraine.

A Web search immediately confirmed my suspicion: sulfites. I expected the gin to be the culprit, but to my surprise it is the golden raisins. Sulfites are added to preserve the light color.

A. You’re right: Golden raisins do contain sulfites. In some sulfite-sensitive people, this could trigger a life-threatening reaction.

Some people report pain relief using regular raisins soaked in gin, a recipe that doesn’t include sulfites. Others are enthusiastic about Certo and grape juice or about various juice combinations with vinegar. We have compiled these recipes in the Guide to Home Remedies we are sending you. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. DJL-24, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.com.

Q. Please put to rest the question of whether milk of magnesia works on acne. I had developed such severe acne on my buttocks that my dermatologist said, “Well, no one sees your behind.”

A daily application of MoM after my morning shower, allowing it to dry somewhat before dressing, has cleared up the problem by 99 percent. I have started using the generic type and notice no difference in effectiveness.

A. We have heard from many people who have found milk of magnesia helpful against facial blemishes. Like you, they applied it to clean skin and allowed it to dry.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them via their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

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