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De-bunking myths about erectile dysfunction medications 2015-04-29
By Thomas Alderson, MD

Medications like Viagra, Levitra or Cialis have revolutionized the treatment of erectile dysfunction, or ED. This condition, which is the inability to sustain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse currently affects as many as 30 million men in the United States.
Since it was first introduced in 1998, there have been more than 20 million prescriptions written for Viagra alone.
These medications have given men a relatively safe and effective treatment option. When used properly with the guidance of a physician, they can help men combat the physical limitations of ED.
In the years since the U.S. Federal Drug Administration approved ED medications, the popularity of ED drugs have amplified along with unrealistic expectations and myths. Here are answers to these false rumors:
Myth: ED drugs can harm hearing.
Fact: Out of the thousands of prescriptions written for ED medications, the FDA reports that only 30 men have said they experienced loss of hearing. In most cases, the hearing loss was only in one ear and it was temporary in about one-third of the men. The decreased blood flow to the inner ear from an ED drug can cause ringing or dizziness, these are common side effects that should be discussed with a physician before taking the medication.
Myth: Viagra is an aphrodisiac.
Fact: The active ingredients in Viagra allow a man to respond naturally to sexual stimulation. Viagra, in itself, does not cause an erection. It is simply a medication to treat ED.
Myth: ED drugs cause blindness.
Fact: About two percent of men who are prescribed an ED drug have reported a temporary blue haze.
Myth: ED medications are a cure.
Fact: ED medications are a treatment, not a cure. In many cases, problems with sexual arousal are from other underlying conditions or diseases, such as diabetes, prostate cancer or kidney disease. That is why a thorough physical exam should be conducted before taking ED medications.
Myth: If you have a medical condition, you can’t take ED medication.
Fact: Many men who have other medical issues take ED drugs. In many cases, ED medications do not affect other medical conditions. However, men with certain heart-related conditions and those taking some blood pressure medications or Nitrate drugs should take ED medications only after a complete physical and under the guidance of their physician.
It may seem uncomfortable to visit with a physician about erectile dysfunction, but there are effective treatments available. Being able to resume sexual activity can make a tremendous difference in a person’s self-esteem and sense of well-being. Also, ED can be a symptom of an underlying health problem, such as heart disease or diabetes, so it’s imperative to seek the advice of a qualified physician.

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