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New research suggests buying ED drugs online or on private market can be deadly

San Francisco, CA, May 31, 2010–Counterfeit drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED) can contain toxic materials, too much active ingredient or no active ingredient at all and pose serious health risks, according to research presented at the 105th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). Taking ED medication that is not prescribed is already dangerous because these medications can interact with other drugs or may not be safe for people with other health conditions, like high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. Members of the media can meet with the researchers and hear more during a special press conference on Monday, May 31, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. PDT.

Researchers from Korea compared 19 counterfeit drugs to their prescription counterparts and found that the counterfeits not only looked different in size (32 percent) and color (42 percent) but also contained different amounts of the active ingredient. More than half of the tablets (58 percent) contained an excess of active ingredient—more than double the amount for some counterfeits. Meanwhile, 37 percent of the fake drugs contained no active ingredient at all. Some counterfeits contained unapproved erectogenic materials (i.e. homo-sildenafil, hongdenafil, amino-tadalfil, xanthoanthrafil, pseudovardenafile), while others contained heavy metals (one contained lead, four contained mercury). 

“Many men may think that buying drugs online will save them the embarrassment of going to the doctor and explaining their problem,” said Anthony Y. Smith, an AUA spokesperson. “Unfortunately, what these men do not realize is that buying drugs online can be dangerous, but taking a medication that is not prescribed can be even more dangerous. Men need to know that doctors are familiar with ED. We diagnose and treat it every day. Hiding the problem from your physician can also be a potential problem because it may be a warning sign of other impending health problems, such as metabolic syndrome or heart disease.”

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Experts are available to discuss this study outside normal briefing times. To arrange an interview with an expert, please contact the AUA Communications Office at the number above or e-mail 

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 16,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients.

Wendy Isett, AUA