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When the makers of a herbal product, reputed to enhance male sexuality, took a survey of 230 its customers, they found that half had used Viagra and that 46 percent were "Viagra refugees" who eschewed the popular prescription drug altogether. With about 30 million men in the US alone affected by erectile dysfunction (ED) Viagra became wildly popular after hitting the market in 1998. But years of use has revealed some undesirable side effects and frustrated users. But there are some alternatives to using the oblong blue pill, writes OutUK Health Correspondent Charles Downey.

Standard Treatments

Some treatments, like injection therapy, which existed when Viagra was released are still being used.

"Once men get used to an injection at the base of their penis, they love it," says Steven Lamm, M.D. New York University assistant professor of medicine and author of "The Virility Solution." "It's felt as a tiny bee sting because the shot is put into a relatively unsensitive part of the organ with a very fine needle."

Intracavernous injection is the medication used is a substance found naturally in the male urogenital tract and the nervous system. But it's not intended for men who use blood thinners.

On the medical horizon is Invicorp, yet another intracavernous injection that overcomes moderate to severe ED. Yet another drug, amporphine hydrochloride, currently in clinical trials, is squirted into the nose in an inhaler and works like Viagra. Another of father's little helpers, MUSE, involves slipping a pellet medicated with the drug alprostadil (the trade names are Caverject and Edex) into the urethra opening at the end of the penis and letting it dissolve. A topical cream containing the same medications is in development. MUSE is effective in men who have diabetes but because it opens blood vessels, it does not work well in those with severe circulatory or nerve damage.

Implants

For more serious ED cases, three surgical implants are available to help men rise to the occasion by literally pumping it up. But the procedures are irreversible because erectile tissue is permanently damaged when the devices are implanted. Yet other men use a vacuum pump which draws blood into and engorges the organ. A band is placed at the base of the penis to prevent blood from flowing out again. A serendipitous finding when giving smokers the drug wellbutrin to quell a tobacco habit was libido enhancement. So some men take that drug to bolster their desire. Older men sometimes consider hormone replacement therapies. For men with damaged blood vessels two operations -- revascularization and venous ligation -- are available.

Herbs to the Rescue

 

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