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Why Viagra, Young Men, and ‘Party Pills’ Are a Cause for Concern

Recreational use of Viagra by young men in no need of erection help seems to be on the rise. The consequences of treating Viagra as a party pill and taking it in combination with illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and even heroin could be — and often are — disastrous.

Viagra, the pioneering prescription drug for erectile dysfunction, is most typically used by older men who have become unable to get and keep an erection suitable for intercourse. However, the little blue pill has somehow become an “illicit party drug” for young men in their teens to mid-20s. Known on the street as “blue diamonds,” these Viagra tablets fetch up to $60 per pill on the black market.

Doctors say the use of Viagra as a party pill for young men is a more common occurrence than most people are willing to admit. The men who admit to secretly using Viagra are most often seeking to add a little extra boost to their bedroom performance, but the problem is the little blue pill carries some big risks that they may not know about.

Is It the Real Thing or Not?

First off, most of these pills sold are on the black market through friends and acquaintances. The buyer has no idea what exactly they are taking and whether it’s genuine Viagra or a so-called herbal variety. Both pose risks.

Secondly, even if the little blue pills are genuine FDA-approved Viagra, manufactured by Pfizer, there are concerns for anyone taking it who has not been fully screened by a physician. Doctors must make certain their patients are not on any other medications that would interact with Viagra, or the consequences could be very dangerous. Patients are warned about interactions with other types of drugs. None of this occurs when the drug is purchased secretly on the black market.

Priapism Could Result

There is also a rare but very real side effect that results in an erection that lasts for more than four hours. Such a protracted erection, if not treated promptly, can cause permanent tissue and blood vessel damage.

“It is a condition called priapism, and what this is an erection that does not go away and if it lasts beyond four hours, there could be actual decreased blood flow and permanent tissue damage. It’s typically fixed surgically. It can involve a needle and other instrumentation,” Nick Solomos, M.D., of the Kelsey Seybold Clinic said in a report.

Beware ‘Herbal Viagra’

Herbal remedies can sometimes be hazardous to your health. 

But, there are even greater risks involved in the so-called herbal Viagra, or any product that claims to be a “natural” form of the drug prescribed by doctors for erectile dysfunction.

While prescription drugs must undergo years of testing and their production is overseen by FDA standards of quality and safety, the world of herbal supplements is virtually unregulated and offers formulations of ingredients that may not only have no proven benefit to the patients but could actually be hazardous to their health or even threaten their life.

Viagra as a Party Drug

When former NBA L.A. Lakers basketball star Lamar Odom was hospitalized in October 2015, reportedly suffering disastrous results from ingesting a drug cocktail that included a self-proclaimed “herbal Viagra,” it shined a spotlight on this dangerous issue.

According to Politico New York, a bill was drafted in reaction to the incident, based on an FDA consumer update, warning patients about the risk associated with “all natural” and “alternative” erectile dysfunction remedies.

According to the FDA report, many of these products are nothing more than “drug cocktails,” formulated with several pharmaceutical substances (some prescription only), and these substances are not normally taken together. Basically, none of these products ever go through any clinical trials and their mixture could be lethal.

Why Do Young Men Risk it?

Unfortunately, young men seem to be willing to try just about anything, without investigating the risks, and Viagra is no exception. New York psychologist and sex therapist Judy Kuriansky stated it best in an interview with USA Today.

“Young men are getting Viagra off the net, buying it in parks, and on school campuses. They think they will be really macho and have erections that last forever,” she said. She also noted that the drug may have little benefit on a young man who already has no issue with getting an erection.

According to experts, a huge concern in the use of the drug on the “party” scene stems from the potential combination of Viagra — real or fake — with illegal drugs, including cocaine, amphetamines, and the designer drug ecstasy.

In one study in the United Kingdom, it was noted that Viagra was being used as a recreational drug in British nightclubs soon after it was first introduced to the market there in September 1998. The biggest danger the study found was that it was often being combined with what is known as “poppers,” or amyl nitrate, according to the experts. Since both drugs dilate blood vessels, the combination can result in a sudden drop in blood pressure and cause a heart attack or stroke, even in a young man.

Numerous Deaths Reported

This trend has resulted in numerous deaths. According to a statement by Marshall Forstein, M.D., medical director of the Mental Health and Addiction Services at Fenway Community Health Center in Boston, young men do not seem to be aware of the dangers.

“Viagra is an excellent drug when it is used appropriately, he said. “Combined with other drugs, it can be deadly.”

Forstein warns that any drug bought on the black market is often impure. So-called herbal Viagra is a prime example. According to the Mayo Clinic, without any government regulations and oversight, like prescription and over-the-counter drugs have, herbal supplements can be inconsistent, potentially dangerous, and will probably fall short of their medical claims.

Blood Pressure Can Plummet

A 2015 article in the New York Post noted that herbal Viagra lowers your blood pressure substantially, so if the person adds another substance to it, like recreational drugs or even prescribed nitrate medication for heart problems he has, the risk of a fatal arrhythmia goes up exponentially.

The FDA has conducted several tests (and issued safety alerts) on questionable herbal supplements marketed and sold for sexual enhancement and erectile dysfunction. The results showed a broad scope of the hidden dangers they pose to consumers. One of the products, for example, contained 31 times the prescription dose of tadalafil, the active ingredient in the prescription drug Cialis. Added to this dangerous cocktail of drugs was an antidepressant, which was not approved by the FDA.

Viagra

Young men are admitting to buying Viagra on the black market to use as a “party pill.”

So is Viagra Safe?

The quick answer is yes, but only if you are supposed to be taking it for its intended use and have talked with your doctor about any risks. Viagra is available by prescription so that the patient is properly screened and warned about possible interactions with other medications and precautions to take.

The drug is well documented for its safe use and effectiveness as a proven treatment for male impotence. But not everyone can take Viagra; only your doctor and you can decide if it is right for you.

The side effects of Viagra are generally mild and in many cases may disappear completely as you continue to use the drug. The most common side effects of the drug are back and muscle pain, dizziness, flushing, headache, indigestion, nausea, rash, and runny or stuffy nose.

Authentic FDA-approved Viagra, manufactured by Pfizer, as well as generic formulations of the drug, marketed as sildenafil citrate, can be purchased online. You can either order brand-name Viagra or a generic equivalent through your local pharmacy or you can order it online through a reputable online facilitator such as eDrugstore.com. The latter has been in business since the late 1990s and sells only FDA-approved medications that are sourced from licensed U.S. pharmacies. To learn more, visit eDrugstore’s Erectile Dysfunction page.

Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+