May 23rd, 2011
By: T.M. Hartle
Recent research has identified daily use of aspirin or other NSAID’s with a significant increased risk of erectile dysfunction. The association of aspirin and other NSAID’s with erectile dysfunction began with a small study in Finland. The results seen in the Finland study were affirmed in a larger study conducted by Kaiser Permenente Los Angeles Medical Center. The results of these two studies contradicted commonly held beliefs about the cause of erectile dysfunction.
Researchers believed that erectile dysfunction was caused by inflammation, and they had the assumption that anti-inflammatory drugs would have a beneficial effect. Kaiser researchers studied more than 80,000 men and found that daily use of aspirin or other NSAID’s was associated with a 22% increase in the risk of erectile dysfunction. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were used regularly by 47% of the men in the study. Nearly 30% of the men regularly using NSAID drugs reported moderate to severe erectile dysfunction. Increased risk of ED was seen even after adjusting for known risk factors.
The researchers of the Kaiser study stated that the regular use of NSAID medications and resultant erectile dysfunction risk was ‘above and beyond what would be expected due to age or other conditions.’ Regular users of NSAID drugs were 2.4 times more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than men who used them infrequently or did not use these drugs. Researchers controlled for age, smoking, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and other conditions that may contribute to erectile dysfunction and the association between NSAID’s and erectile dysfunction remained. Researchers are now left with more unanswered questions and have indicated more research is needed.
Generally erectile dysfunction is associated with cardiovascular problems, increased inflammation, and decreased circulation. Researchers believed that through the use of NSAID’s and a reduction in inflammation improvements would be seen. At the conclusion of the study researchers offered several theories for the results found. One theory stated that while NSAID’s improve blood flow there may be other pathways that these drugs inhibit leading to increased erectile problems. In the wake of conflicting understanding of the interaction of medications and erectile dysfunction recent research has found dietary factors that can reduce the risk.
A recent study in the International Journal of Impotence Research sheds light on dietary factors involved in erectile dysfunction. Researchers found that intake of fruits and nuts were associated with a reduction in erectile dysfunction risk. The ratio of monounsaturated fat in comparison with saturated fat consumption was also associated with reduced risk. Researchers concluded that the adoption of a healthy diet could potentially prevent the development of erectile dysfunction. In the face of side effects from medication and health problems that increase the risk of reproductive dysfunction in men, dietary and lifestyle changes provide an avenue of protection for those willing to take responsibility for their own health.
May 13th, 2011
By: Jonathan Benson
If you asked the average person what active ingredients are found in their favorite over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller drugs, most would be unable to properly identify them — even if they personally use them. A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has found that roughly 69 percent of people surveyed were unaware that McNeil Consumer Healthcare’s painkiller drug Tylenol contains acetaminophen, while an astounding 81 percent had no idea that Pfizer’s Advil contains ibuprofen.
A research team from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine sampled 45 English-speaking adults at high risk of medication overdosing as part of their study. The group was asked if they were aware of the ingredients in various painkiller drugs they were using. About 59 percent of the participants revealed that they never even read drug labels, and it became clear to experts that many participants had at some point taken multiple medications containing the same active ingredient, which raised their risk of health complications.
Acetaminophen, of course, is the leading cause of liver failure among young people and young adults. In fact, studies have routinely shown that acetaminophen is harmful to everyone’s kidneys, including adults. This is particularly concerning when considering that many people are regularly ingesting unknown amounts of this ingredient from multiple drugs without any awareness of it.
“I think the marketing and labeling of these products is very confusing,” said Dr. Lee M. Sanders, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine who was not involved in the study, to Yahoo! News. “I often get called by medical colleagues (MDs and PhDs) with questions about this.”
OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen are linked to causing at least 76,000 hospitalizations and 7,600 deaths in the US alone . Recent studies have also linked NSAIDs to erectile dysfunction, heart attacks, gastrointestinal disorders, and birth defects.
March 21st, 2011
By: Catherine Donaldson-Evans
Men who have taken a popular pill for baldness say they’ve experienced persistent sexual dysfunction for months, or even years, after stopping the drug.
The new study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that men who take finasteride, sold under the brand names Propecia and Proscar, may develop an ongoing loss of libido and orgasm, even after they go off the medication.
In some cases, they could have other lasting sexual side effects, including premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction, according to lead researcher Dr. Michael Irwig of George Washington University’s medical school.
“It’s obviously having some effect on the brain,” Irwig told AOL Health. “It’s messing up different hormonal pathways. Some of these pathways are important for things like libido and sexual function.”
Finasteride, the most common hair-loss pill, has previously been linked to “reversible” sexual impairment, as noted on the drug’s label, said Irwig. But “this is the first series to find that symptoms persisted for at least three months despite stopping finasteride,” he added.
“Three months was the minimum, but some of these guys had sexual symptoms for years, some … for five to 10 years after,” he told AOL Health. “These were young guys with no medical problems, no psychiatric problems, who happened to develop these side effects.”
Irwig and his team interviewed 71 men aged 21 to 46 who had taken Propecia or Proscar and reported new sexual side effects after they started the drugs. None of the participants had a history of sexual dysfunction or other conditions that might have contributed, Irwig said — and some had only been on finasteride for a few days.
Ninety-four percent said they’d experienced low sexual desire, 92 percent reported a dip in sexual arousal and 69 percent had trouble with orgasm, according to the findings. Another 92 percent said they developed erectile dysfunction after taking finasteride.
On average, participants had been on the baldness drug for 28 months and had chronic sexual problems for an average of 40 months, the research showed.
But 10 percent of those studied had used finasteride for less than a month, Irwig told AOL Health.
“It’s scary,” he said. “For the lack of orgasm and libido, there is no treatment.”
Other reported adverse side effects of finasteride are depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety. Merck is currently fighting a number of lawsuits involving the drug, including one in Canada and another in Connecticut.
The company does not warn of possible psychological or persistent sexual problems in information about finasteride on its website, nor does it mention those symptoms on its U.S. labeling. Irwig said the drug does carry warning labels in the U.K. and Sweden about ongoing sexual impairment.
“Be aware that this is a potential sexual side effect,” he cautioned. “If somebody chooses to take this medicine, there is that risk. They have to make the decision that it’s a risk they’re willing to take.”
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March 4th, 2011
By: Deborah Huso
Men taking non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibrupophen, more than three times a day for more than three months are 2.4 times more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction when compared to men who don’t take these drugs regularly, according to new findings published in The Journal of Urology.
The study, from Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, Calif., used electronic health records, an automated pharmacy database, and self-reported questionnaire data to examine the relationship between NSAID use and ED in 80,966 ethnically diverse men. Of those participants, 47.4 percent were considered non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug users.
After allowing for age, race, ethnicity, smoking status, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol and body mass index, researchers found ED was consistently 1.4 times more likely among regular NSAID users.
“Honestly, this finding was a surprise, as we thought that NSAIDs would protect against ED through the same or similar mechanisms by which they protect against heart disease,” Dr. Steven J. Jacobsen, senior study author, epidemiologist, and director of research for Kaiser Permanente Southern California, told AOL Health. “So if our findings are not due to underlying conditions that we didn’t account for, it may point to a mechanism that could provide new insights into the causes of ED.”
At the very least, Jacobsen hopes the study will provide a stimulus for men to discuss risk factors for ED with their care providers.
Dr. James Campbell, director of the Geriatric Center at The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, believes the NSAID theory is worth looking into but still needs more evidence. “At this point, I think you’ve got one preliminary study,” Campbell told AOL Health. “I don’t know that you can conclude this causes ED. A large number of patients have ED, and a large number of patients take anti-inflammatory medications. Whether they’re related, we don’t know.”
“We need to remember that this is an observational study and in no way proves a casual relationship,” Jacobsen agrees.
Campbell says men suffering from ED should talk to their doctors to assess vascular health, blood pressure, diabetes, and other possible health risks that may be contributing to the problem.
“There are medications out there and vacuum devices to help, but it is important to have an evaluation by your doctor,” says Campbell, who works with his own patients to treat ED by improving their overall vascular function.
Jacobsen agrees, noting NSAIDs are beneficial in the prevention of heart disease and other chronic conditions, so he doesn’t think men with ED should stop taking them just because of this recent study data. Rather, he encourages men suffering from ED to talk to their doctors first.
December 21st, 2010
By: S.L. Baker
The U.S. government is so concerned with health safety and hell-bent on supposedly protecting people from consuming certain natural foods (like raw milk), you can rest assured that Americans are not being exposed to well-documented chemical dangers in the food supply, right? Wrong.
The chemical known as bisphenol-A (BPA), which is found in plastic food containers and many baby and water bottles and also lines the inside of many food cans, leaches into food. And it has been linked time and time again to extremely serious health consequences — including birth defects, brain dysfunction, and an increased risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. It’s even suspected to cause erectile dysfunction, the politically correct term for impotence.
However, the FDA has dragged its collective feet for years on banning the chemical. Now comes new evidence that ignoring the widespread use of BPA could impact future generations. The reason? BPA exposure before birth may cause female infertility during adulthood.
A study just published online in the December 2nd issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that fertility plummeted over time in female mice that had been exposed during fetal and neonatal development. These animals were not subjected to mega amounts of the chemical, either. The doses used in the experiment were lower than or equal to human environmental exposure levels of BPA.
“Mice exposed to BPA in the womb and during nursing subsequently had fewer successful pregnancies and delivered fewer pups over the course of the study,” one of the study’s co-senior authors, Ana M. Soto, MD, professor of anatomy and cellular biology at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and member of the cell, molecular and developmental biology program faculty at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, reported in a media statement.
At the highest dosage of three BPA amounts tested, only 60% of the BPA-exposed mice had four or more deliveries over a 32 week period, compared with 95% of animals not exposed to the chemical. Although the reproductive problems in the female mice in this study weren’t apparent during their first pregnancy, later in the rodents’ lives there was a significant decline in the number of offspring the animals could have.
“This finding is important because standard tests of reproductive toxicology currently consist of assessing the success of a first pregnancy in young animals. If subsequent pregnancies are not examined, relevant effects may be missed,” co-senior author Beverly S. Rubin, PhD, associate professor of anatomy and cellular biology at TUSM and member of the cell, molecular and developmental biology and neuroscience program faculties at the Sackler School, said in a media release.
“In addition, the infertility effect of BPA was dose-specific in our study. The lowest and highest doses we tested both impaired fertility, while the intermediate dose did not. This phenomenon, called non-monotonicity, is a common characteristic of hormone action. In other words, chemicals have to be tested at a variety of doses in order to avoid false ‘no effect’ results,” added co-senior author Carlos Sonnenschein, MD, professor of anatomy and cellular biology at TUSM and member of the cell, molecular and developmental biology program faculty at the Sackler School.
“Our findings are potentially of great relevance to humans because BPA is used in the production of materials people are exposed to every day, such as polycarbonate plastics and the resins used to coat the inside of food and beverage cans,” said co-first author Nicolas J. Cabaton, PhD, formerly a post-doctoral fellow in the Soto/Sonnenschein laboratory at TUSM and now at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).
The research team also pointed out that BPA has effects that mimic those of the hormone estrogen and the chemical has been shown in previous studies to increase the risk of breast and prostate cancers, abnormal behavior, and obesity. Of most concern is the fact BPA is already contaminating the human population — it has been found in the urine of over 92% of Americans tested, with the highest levels in children and teens.
The three doses of BPA used in the new study are well within the range of human exposure and far lower than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reference dose (i.e., the maximal acceptable daily dose) for the chemical. “Our results suggest that a more sensitive test, like the one used in this report should be adopted by regulatory agencies in order to uncover the true risk and possible epigenetic effects of suspected endocrine disruptors,” Dr. Soto emphasized.
October 21st, 2010
By Deborah Huso
The popular hair growth drug finasteride, commercially known as Propecia, is indeed effective at re-growing hair, but it may lead to sexual dysfunction in some users.
Many men suffering from baldness who have taken the drug satisfactorily report it increases their hair count and makes their hair thicker. But a new study shows that 1 in 80 of those men has also experienced erectile dysfunction, a known potential side effect.
The study, conducted by researchers at Hospital Aleman in Buenos Aires and published in the Archives of Dermatology, involved the analysis of a dozen studies on the drug involving nearly 4,000 men.
The good news? Most men who take finasteride experience a 30 percent improvement in hair growth in two years. The bad news is that thick head of hair might also be accompanied by some new problems in the bedroom.
Interestingly enough, most men experiencing sexual side effects were not inclined to stop taking the drug, showing men’s definite preference for a full head of hair over high performance between the sheets.
Dr. Patricia Farris, a board-certified dermatologist in Metairie, La., told AOL Health she prescribes finasteride to male patients experiencing hair loss and has occasionally seen a patient experience sexual side effects.
“The statistic [in this study] suggests a less than 2 percent incidence, so it is not common,” she adds. “My experience is that such side effects resolve when the medication is discontinued.”
Half of men will experience pattern hair loss by age 50. For those who take finasteride, the drug works by blocking the enzyme that changes testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, the hormone that leads to hair loss.
Most dermatologists who treat hair loss feel the drug is safe and effective. And since side effects like erectile dysfunction seem to resolve when treatment stops, men who try finasteride need not fear permanent loss of sexual function, experts say.
October 22nd, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
New research out of the University of Washington (UW) has some astounding new propositions for the use of Viagra, an erectile dysfunction drug made by Pfizer Inc. According to the report, young boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) can benefit from taking the drug because it allegedly treats the heart problems that typically emerge as a result of the disease.
Eager to expand the scope of Viagra’s prescribed uses, some researchers are now claiming that the drug helps to treat all sorts of diseases, even though it is linked to hearing loss, infertility, and nerve damage, among other things. But none of this has stopped co-authors Stanley Froehner, a professor of physiology and biophysics at UW, and Joseph Beavo, a professor of pharmacology at UW, from suggesting that Viagra now be used on adolescent boys.
DMD is a severe degenerative disease that eats away at spinal muscles, confining people who have it to wheelchairs by the time they are roughly ten years old. DMD can eventually cause heart failure as well, which is what the study authors claim Viagra will help prevent. But such a proposition is not only irresponsible based on the drug’s many side effects, but insane when considering the repercussions.
Froehner and Beavo have even suggested that young boys between the ages of eight and twelve be given Viagra as a preventive measure, before they even show any signs of heart problems. And they say that the dosage amounts for such purposes will most likely be higher than those given to older men to treat erectile dysfunction.
September 27, 2010
Los Angeles Times
By: P.J. Huffstutter and Andrew Zajac
Reporting from Los Angeles and Washington — The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against Los Angeles-based pomegranate juice maker Pom Wonderful and its billionaire owners, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, alleging that they violated federal law by making “false and unsubstantiated claims” about the health benefits of their products.
Since its launch in 2002, the garnet-red juice in the curvy little bottle gave way to a marketing craze of flavored fruit teas, martinis and salad dressings â a culinary boom bolstered by Pom’s products advertised as helping to treat conditions including heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction. The company, according to its website, has spent more than $34 million to back pomegranate-based scientific research.
In a complaint filed Monday, however, the commission was skeptical. It questioned the scientific methods used in the studies and alleged they did not find evidence showing the products to be effective against certain diseases.
“Any consumer who sees Pom Wonderful products as a silver bullet against disease has been misled,” David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
The complaint â which also named Pom’s parent company, Roll International Corp., and company President Matthew Tupper â marks the latest salvo in an ongoing campaign by the federal agency to uncover false health claims in food advertising.
In recent months, the commission forced Nestle to halt an ad campaign for a drink called Boost Kid Essentials that claimed it would keep children from getting sick and missing school. It also required Kellogg Co. to stop making claims that nutrients in its Rice Krispies cereal improved kids’ immunity and that its Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal was “clinically shown to improve kids’ attentiveness by nearly 20%.”
With Pom, the FTC cited a number of advertisements as being misleading on its websites, in national print outlets and elsewhere. The commission also pointed to Lynda Resnick, the driver behind the company’s marketing juggernaut, and raised concerns over comments she made during media interviews.
On “The Martha Stewart Show,” Resnick said Pom was “the magic elixir of our age and of all ages, and we know that it helps circulation, it helps Alzheimer’s, it helps all sorts of things in the body.” She reportedly told a Newsweek reporter, “It’s also 40% as effective as Viagra.”
March 23, 2010
By: Frederik Joelving
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Infertile men may have an increased risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer, researchers reported on Monday in what could be an important move toward identifying those who will benefit from screening for the disease.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, affecting about 160 per 100,000 every year and killing 26. While doctors can screen for it, many prefer not to do so because most tumors grow slowly and never cause any harm.
The researchers tracked more than 22,000 Californian men who had been evaluated for infertility between 1967 and 1998.
Over the decade following the evaluation, 1.2 percent of the infertile men developed prostate cancer, compared to only 0.4 percent of the fertile men. Both of those figures are higher than would be expected in the general population, possibly because these men are more likely to visit health-care professionals and get diagnosed.
After accounting for age, infertility increased the chances of being diagnosed with aggressive tumors 2.6 times. For slow-growing cancers, the risk climbed 1.6 times, the authors report in the journal Cancer.
“The absolute risk of men developing prostate cancer is still very small,” said Dr. Thomas Walsh of the University of Washington, who led the research. “What is surprising is that we see this high rate of high-grade prostate cancer.”
He said the specific effect on aggressive tumors was important for two reasons. First, it means the increased risk is not just a result of infertile men being screened more often because of their visits to the urologist. Had that been the case, researchers would expect to see the same increase in slow-growing cancers.
Second, infertility might point to more lethal cancers, singling out men who should give an extra thought to screening.
It is not yet clear what could account for the link between infertility and prostate cancer. But researchers speculate that damages to the male sex chromosome — for instance through exposure to environmental toxins in the womb — may be involved.
Other risk factors for prostate cancer include older age, being African American, family history and obesity.
The American Urological Association – of which Walsh is a member — recommends screening for men aged 40 or older. However, Walsh said he did not believe that all young men with fertility problems should be screened.
Still, he said that if the findings are confirmed, doctors might consider lowering the screening threshold when seeing infertile patients.
Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, agreed. The Cancer Society recommends that doctors discuss the pros and cons of screening with patients at age 50.
“A man who has infertility problems should take (the new findings) into consideration when thinking about prostate cancer screening,” Brawley, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health.
The treatments for prostate cancer — surgery or radiation — may lead to incontinence and erectile dysfunction in about a third of patients.
“We treat a lot of prostate cancers that don’t need to be treated,” said Brawley. “We desperately need studies that will point to markers of aggressiveness.”