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The active ingredient Sildenafil, originally researched as a blood pressure lowering agent, triggered a second sexual revolution under the name Viagra. Although the preparation did not have the desired effect as a blood pressure medication, it did have an improvement in the subjects' ability to erect as a side effect. An erectile dysfunction drug, commonly known as impotence, was found.
Billionaire business Viagra
The blue tablets became huge business for the manufacturer Pfizer. With Viagra alone, the pharmaceutical company has an annual turnover of 1.7 billion US dollars worldwide. There are now other preparations with the same effect, which contain the active ingredients Tadalafil (trade name Cialis), Vardenafil (trade name Levitra) or Avanafil (trade name Spedra).
These drugs inhibit a specific enzyme (phosphodiesterase 5) that usually controls the expansion of cavernous vessels. The active ingredients are therefore also called PDE-5 inhibitors. Because they ensure that the smooth muscle cells in the penis relax and the blood can flow into the penis to trigger an erection. In addition, the outflow of blood in interaction with the potency muscles, which are located in the pelvis, is reduced.
Viagra and Co. will not work without a healthy libido
Anyone who thinks that taking Viagra and Co. alone would lead to an erection is wrong. "If you just swallow the tablet and then continue to write e-mails, for example, nothing happens," explains Dr. Matthias Mahn from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. "First of all, sexual stimulation is required. The resulting blood flow effect is only increased by Viagra and then ideally leads to a visible erection."
PDE-5 inhibitors are therefore ineffective on erectile dysfunction caused by nerve damage. Even if there are circulatory disorders, they cannot be used. A doctor can determine further contraindications after a detailed examination. Medicines such as Viagra should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor.
How long does the effect of Viagra and Co last?
The highest effectiveness of the drugs depends on when the concentration of the substance in the blood is highest. Depending on the medication, this can take anywhere from 40 minutes to four hours. Cialis shows the longest effect, some of which is still present even after a little longer than two days. In the case of Levitra and Viagra, the effect can persist even after five hours, but then usually decreases significantly.
The "potency pill" is also becoming a lifestyle product
In our highly sexualized society, sexual performance in men is easily equated with masculinity. Viagra is also selling very well as a lifestyle product. In 2004, politicians even banned potency pills from drugs by law. The cash registers no longer assume any costs. Since then, politicians have assessed erectile dysfunction as just as little in need of treatment as overweight or hair loss. This is not a problem for the pharmaceutical companies. Because that doesn’t stop customers: The demand for sexual enhancers is increasing continuously.
Substantial health risks from counterfeit sexual enhancers
Prices per tablet
After the patent protection for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra expires, cheaper so-called generic preparations with the same active ingredient are available.
The costs depend on the dosage, pack size (here with four tablets) and manufacturer.
Sildenafil 50 mg - about 3.25 to 13.75 euros
Tadalafil 10 mg - about 3.28 to 22 euros
Vardenafil 10 mg - about 3.87 to 8 euros
Avanafil 100 mg - about 8.24 euros
(Status: 2019, source: Stiftung Warentest)
Out of shame or for financial reasons, many men try to avoid doctors' offices and pharmacies. For four Viagra tablets, patients have to pay up to 50 euros in the pharmacy. That's why many buy sexual enhancers on the Internet. According to a study by the Central Laboratory of German Pharmacists in Eschborn, at least half of the potency pills that are ordered on the Internet without a prescription are counterfeit.
This poses a significant health risk for users, as Dr. Mona Tawab makes it clear: "Basically, there is no such thing as a good counterfeit, because they are produced in an uncontrolled manner. You have to distinguish between two types of counterfeit. One is very similar to the original. The active ingredient is also incorporated into it, but in some cases in a lower dosage But there are actually counterfeits from backyard productions into which varnishes are worked. Ingesting them can be very dangerous or even life-threatening. "
The pharmacist also warns against herbal food supplements, which are touted as harmless sexual enhancers. "We have already been able to detect synthetic chemical substances in it that are not declared. And the awesome thing, however, is that the Viagra active ingredient in such herbal food supplements can be contained in much higher doses than in the usual tablets. That is of course extremely dangerous".
Lucrative business with sexual enhancers
What good business the trade in - even counterfeit - Viagra promises is also registered by customs at Frankfurt Airport. In 2018 alone, the Frankfurter Zoll secured more than 1.4 million tablets and ampoules for a "violation of the Drugs Act". The range of preparations extends from pain relievers and birth control pills to sexual enhancers. The sexual enhancers in particular were often counterfeits. According to the Frankfurt customs, these mostly came from India.
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45 min | 01/06/2020 | 22:00 O'clock
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