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Viagra, Cialis, Levitra

The Billion Dollar Erectile Race

 By Dr. Gifford Jones

How many times a week are we supposed to make love? Moreover, if erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs don’t work, what are you supposed to do?

The race of the century has started. No, it’s not a recap of the great horse race between Sea Biscuit and Northern Dancer. Rather, it’s the contest between three ED drugs. The prize for the winner? Billions of dollars.

All three impotence drugs work by blocking an enzyme that relaxes muscles and allows increased blood flow into the penis. If you have heart trouble and are taking a nitrate-based medicine, ED drugs must not be prescribed. The combined effect of these drugs may cause a precipitous drop in blood pressure.

There’s some evidence that ED drugs may indicate underlying heart disease. This is a reasonable possibility since atherosclerosis of arteries decreases blood supply to both heart and penis.

So which drug will be the Seabiscuit of ED? Viagra, with a huge start, is half way around the track. But it should be consumed without food, requires about an hour to work and lasts four hours. It’s ideal for those who prefer sex to a gourmet meal.

Eli Lilly’s “Cialis” has been labelled “Le Weekend” drug lasting an incredible 36 hours. My initial reaction was “Wow”. You could pop one every few days, live in a state of perpetual erectile paradise, and ladies, beware!

But 36 hours! Suppose after taking the pill your partner gets a prolonged headache. The next morning, frustrated on your way to work, you pass several attractive women and Cialis opens the vascular flood gates. I envision males sneaking through back doors and interesting office scenarios. Besides, a longer acting drug may also have prolonged side-effects.

In the real world who needs 36 hours of erectile bliss? Besides, if you have to chase your partner for 36 hours before she says ‘Yes”, something is wrong. Moreover, humans are not like lions that copulate every 15 minutes at mating time.

Levitra, a joint venture of Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline, can be taken with meals and lasts for four hours. So you can enjoy a romantic meal with your partner, share a bottle of the best vintage wine, turn the lights down low and then. But wine has a profound soporific effect. Drink too much and I envision some people sleeping rather than sexing with Levitra.

There’s a common belief that ED drugs always work. This isn’t the case and couples are often left frustrated and humiliated? Dr. John Morley, Director of Geriatric Medicine at St. Louis University, says that ED drugs provide erectile bliss for one-third of males, adequate response from another third, and are a dismal flop in the rest.

Dr. Morley adds that it’s not well publicized that failure is often due to low amounts of the male hormone testosterone. After age 30 men lose one per cent of their testosterone every year. And that drugs to increase testosterone, such as Andriol or AndroGel, along with an ED drug, can often be the ultimate answer. Studies show that a significant number of men treated with Ed drugs and testosterone can go off Ed drugs within six to 12 months.

Since I have no personal experience with any of these drugs, or any luck betting on horses, don’t ask me who is going to win the billion dollar race. But if fate allows me to last until 90 years of age I’ll send along a personal report!

Don’t despair if ED drugs prove to be an abject failure. There’s one last use for them. An Israeli scientist, Ya’acov Leshem, at Bar-Ilan University, put Viagra into a vase of cut flowers and found they stayed fresh longer than usual. He didn’t mention if they were more erect!

In the meantime pharmaceutical giants will pour millions into persuading shy, impotent males to see their doctor. Only 15 per cent of men suffering from ED have sought treatment. And producers can smell the dollars.

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Dr. Gifford Jones  Bio
Dr. Gifford Jones Most recent columns

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of The Harvard Medical School. He’s been a ship’s surgeon, hotel physician and family doctor and later trained in surgery at McGill in Montreal, University of Rochester N.Y. and Harvard. His medical column is published by 60 Canadian newspapers and several in the U.S. He is the author of seven books. Dr. Walker has a medical practice in Toronto. His Web site is: http://www.mydoctor.ca/gifford-jones

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