Navigation Links
Fake Drugs Bought on the Web Pose Big Health Risks
Date:1/29/2010

2.5 million men in Europe alone may have taken counterfeit Viagra, study says

FRIDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- People who buy prescription medications over the Internet, especially drugs purporting to treat erectile dysfunction, are playing Russian roulette with their lives, a new study contends.

At best the drugs won't help you and at worst they could kill you, the review article said.

"You may be wasting your money or you may actually be hurting yourself," said Dr. Margaret E. Wierman, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver and chief of endocrinology at the Denver VA Medical Center, who was not involved with the study.

Counterfeit Internet drugs are a mushrooming problem. Seizures of fake drugs in Europe quadrupled between 2005 and 2007. And the number of investigations undertaken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration increased by a factor of eight between 2000 and 2006, according to the study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

The sale of counterfeit drugs has almost doubled in the last five years, and will hit $75 billion in 2010, according to one estimate, making it one of the more lucrative illicit drug markets.

As many as 2.5 million men in Europe may have taken counterfeit sildenafil (Viagra), the study authors stated.

"It's a very significant problem and I think there are people who are being injured," said Dr. Ira D. Sharlip, a spokesman for the American Urological Association and clinical professor of urology at the University of California, San Francisco. "The only way to avoid the problem is not to buy on the Internet."

Viagra-like tablets bought on the Internet aren't necessarily any cheaper than the real thing, but they do allow buyers to avoid the shame factor often associated with asking for this type of drug.

"The motivation is the anonymity of buying drugs on the Internet. It's embarrassing to some men to go to a pharmacy and pick up his Viagra prescription, and it's also embarrassing for some men to go to a doctor and say, 'I have erectile dysfunction. I need some Viagra,'" Sharlip said.

The problem of fake drugs isn't limited to impotence treatments. According to the study, two pregnant women died after they were given injections of a counterfeit iron preparation for anemia, and 51 children died in Bangladesh of kidney failure after taking paracetamol syrup that was contaminated with diethylene glycol, which is often used as antifreeze in cars.

So many things can go wrong with Internet purchases.

"The purity of the medication or the quality of the medication is under no sort of scrutiny or any type of oversight to determine if, first of all, it is the correct medication. And second, if it is correct is it in the correct dosage?" said Dr. Michael Chehval, chief of urology at St. Louis University.

Study author Dr. Graham Jackson, a cardiologist at London Bridge Hospital in the United Kingdom, said: "The first danger is people don't know what's in it. Some are just talcum powder or brick dust, while some have a bit of Viagra or Cialis and some chemicals that have nothing to do with it. One batch actually contained amphetamine, which is an addictive drug. Tablets are made shiny with road paint or shoe polish. The content of the medication could be anything."

In 2008, four men in Singapore died after ingesting counterfeit impotence drugs that had been contaminated with a blood-sugar-lowering agent, the study reported.

And bypassing the involvement of a competent doctor means red flags could be missed.

"Erection problems can be an early warning sign of heart disease or diabetes," Jackson said. "If you do have a problem and don't see a doctor, diagnosis of those important conditions can be missed. Men with no symptoms at all who get an erection problem usually are an average of three to five years away from a heart attack. Instead of going to the Internet, they should be going to their doctors to find out if they are at risk and to do something about it."

Problems also can occur when the impotence drugs actually do contain phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5), the main ingredient in Viagra, as well as vardenafil (Levitra) and tadalafil (Cialis).

"People with underlying heart problems are at risk for cardiac events if they take this class of medication," Chehval said.

According to the review article, about one-third of men reported sidestepping a health-care professional when buying erectile dysfunction drugs.

"This is a really serious issue. We can fix the erectile dysfunction and we can also fix the chances of getting a heart attack," Jackson said.

Jackson is editor of the journal and reported multiple ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, which makes Viagra. The review article covered more than fifty studies published between 1995 and 2009 and was conducted by British, Swedish and American researchers.

More information

The World Health Organization has more on counterfeit medications.



SOURCES: Margaret E. Wierman, M.D., professor, medicine, University of Colorado at Denver, and chief, endocrinology, Denver VA Medical Center; Ira D. Sharlip, M.D., spokesman, American Urological Association, and clinical professor, urology, University of California, San Francisco; Michael Chehval, M.D., chief, urology, St. Louis University; Graham Jackson, M.D., cardiologist, London Bridge Hospital, London, England; International Journal of Clinical Practice


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists show how molecular switch helps pancreatic cancer beat drugs
2. Common antidepressant drugs linked to lactation difficulties in moms
3. Counterfeit Internet drugs pose significant risks and discourage vital health checks
4. Fertility drugs contribute heavily to multiple births
5. Scientists show how brain tumors outsmart drugs
6. Cost of Psoriasis Drugs Rising Faster Than Others
7. Fertility Drugs Contribute Heavily to Multiple Births
8. Some Blood Pressure Drugs May Stave Off Dementia
9. Blood Pressure Drugs Might Fight Diabetic Retinopathy
10. Baby Boomers Still Doing Drugs as Seniors
11. China Nepstar Chain Drugstore Announces Change to the Board
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... distinction by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), the leading authority in ... and patient safety. Only a few hospitals and facilities have earned this distinction. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... to announce that “Natural Language Processing–Enabled and Conventional Data Capture Methods for Input ... JMIR Medical Informatics . , Results of the comparative usability study demonstrate that ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... CURE Media ... centers and advocacy groups, has aligned with Upstage Lung Cancer in efforts to combat ... the announcement, Michael J. Hennessy, Jr said, “CURE Media Group is honored to team ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... ... Fitness Camp (PFC) and The Chopra Center for Wellbeing announced today the launch of ... headquarters of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in San Diego. , Chopra FIT ... development, a healthy lifestyle, or mental and physical healing. The week-long wellness program combines ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products, today announced that ... set up in 2006 as a non-profit organization to unite pharmaceutical and healthcare ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... QUEBEC CITY , Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... key US patents for improving the accuracy, reproducibility ... CD images in long and small bone orthopaedic ... proprietary approach to creating personalized orthopaedic restorations based ... create personalized orthopaedic restorations, the company harnesses the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  A new study ... that the use of opioid therapy to treat chronic ... the likelihood of more harmful consequences, including death. ... M.D., and Zankhana Mehta , M.D., authored the ... on chronic opioid therapy. The study was published in ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016 Information products and services provider ... Scopus , the world,s largest abstract and citation database of ... for journals from over 5,000 publishers. The new set of metrics ... to and when to adjust a journal,s editorial strategy. ... , , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: