SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Herbal supplements in the form of pills, on the airways and online... dozens are available and they all come with big claims about what they can do for men. "We are promised immeasurable pleasure from these enhancement products"
Dr. William Brant is a Urologist at the University of Utah. He's also a sexual dysfunction specialist. "About a third to half of the patients who come in are either on one of these supplements or have certainly tried one or many of them in the past.”
He says they come to his office because the herbal supplements don't work. "Males are being appealed to in sort of these general terms of their size, and their pleasure, and these great things that can be accomplished. But of course there is nothing that has to be there, really, to back that up."
Because they are supplements they are not subject to FDA approval or testing.
"They don't need to spend money on things like research they can spend it on advertisement and marketing." But he says what those advertisements don't tell you is what's actually in their products. “A guy can think that they are getting something that is safe for them, but it turns out they are getting something that is dangerous.”
The FDA has warned consumers to avoid nearly thirty products sold online. They were identified as containing potentially harmful undeclared ingredients found in FDA approved medications.
"There can be a lot of other adulterants or other things in these medications that may be unsafe because of other medications men are taking, or because of their general health." He says the greatest risk is for men taking nitroglycerin or other heart medications.
"It can make their blood pressure go way down."
Some of the male enhancement company policies, on the other hand, may bring blood pressure to a boiling point. The better business bureau currently gives ExtenZe an "F" rating because of customer satisfaction, and its auto-billing practices. Francine Giani, at Utah’s Department of Commerce, says read the fine print. "I think that is something that consumers need to take a look at before they purchase anything over the internet especially this product that seems to have numerous complaints against it."
Dr. Brant also says going online for products, instead of visiting a doctor could be wasting valuable time. He says problems in this arena can be a symptom of more serious health issues that should not be ignored, and certainly can not be treated with herbal supplements.