When we talk about treatment for erectile dysfunction, there are many different options.
There's medications that can be taken, which may include FDA approved medications, such as Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra. There's injection therapy to the penis, where various compounds can be injected directly into the penis. There's also use of devices, such as vacuum devices, to act as an aid to facilitate erections. There are what we call suppository pills that can be inserted into the urethra that deliver medications directly to the penile tissues. All these would be considered conventional FDA approved therapies for erectile dysfunction.
There's a category of therapies which we would put into the category of alternative medications, or alternative meds. And these may include herbal supplements, various products that you can find on the market. With regard to some of these treatments, they may be effective. However, there should be some caution when utilizing any of these particular compounds. There are some products which have been shown to be effective, and may facilitate erections, and probably are safe in the short-term. But we don't have significant studies to evaluate their efficacy or safety in the long-term. These include things like DHEA, L-arginine, ginseng. So, these are herbal products that sometimes can help with erectile function.
There's a product called Yohimbine, which is a naturally occurring substance, which also can help with erections. However, this particular product has the possible side effect of low blood pressure, dizziness, fainting. So, it probably should not be used as the safety of the medication is not determined.
There are other products on the market which you will see being marketed as herbal Viagra. The FDA has put out warnings, stating that these products contain a large number of compounds that are not regulated and may not be known. Many of these products may actually be spiked with products that are similar to drugs such as Viagra. And because these are not regulated products, they can have serious potential side effects, such as fainting, dizziness. So the FDA has put out a warning saying practice extreme caution when using these types of products, and it recommends against the use of these types of products.
So, there are alternatives to conventional therapies. The most commonly used treatments for erectile dysfunction happen to be conventional therapies. However, many patients will see many things being marketed. And the bottom line is you have to practice caution, because the safety of many of these products is not clearly determined.