I have recently had a number of enquiries from clients and friends in both the disabled and able-bodied sector with erectile dysfunction asking about cheaper, non-prescription medication available on the market and I share my findings with you.

Recently a number of non-prescription herbal drugs that assists with libido and erectile dysfunction have appeared on the shelves of the larger discount pharmacies and adult stores countrywide. This follows in the steps of prescription medication that has been on the market for some time. One of the reasons why the prescription medication can only be dispensed after consultation with a general physician is that the medication has a vaso dilatory effect. The medication does not only affect the blood supply to the penis but also has an effect on blood pressure and persons with an underlying cardiovascular status are advised not to take it. These products also have other contra indications that should be heeded.
The natural herbal products can also have a vaso dilatory effect and should therefore be taken with caution. Indicated dosage should never be exceeded. These herbal products should be used with caution by patients taking anti- coagulants and anti-platelet drugs, or by people who have diabetes, cardiac conditions or schizophrenia.

The product package inserts should be studied carefully for specific contra indications and/ or exclusions.

A general exclusion especially for spinal cord injury, is that the person taking the medication should still be capable of some arousal of the penis. With persons that have absolutely no sensation of the penis, the medication will have no effect and the use of the Vacurect vacuum pump described in a previous article would be more effective. After several trials with persons who have spinal cord injuries - these three products were the most popular:

  1. OTO retails for around R32 per pill and is sold in a pack with four tablets. The pill should be taken about 45 minutes before intercourse and causes hot flushes (almost like blushing) when it becomes active. The effect of the pill is inhibited by the consumption of large fatty meals and alcohol immediately prior to use. The pill will allow several erections in the next 48 hours and has a common side effect of heartburn and slight headaches afterwards. The pill will have a quicker effect if it is chewed, but it is extremely bitter.
  2. Maximor prices at around R46 per pill and sold in packets of four pills. The pill should be taken an hour before intercourse and should be swallowed with warm water. For quicker results open the capsule and take the powder with hot water. Side effects can include a dry mouth, thirst and insomnia.
  3. STAMINAFIT prices at around R40 per pill and is available in packs of two or four. One tablet should be taken on an empty stomach with a full glass of water about an hour before sex. Side effects can include nausea and vomiting. This product claims to increase libido in both males and females, but I have not personally interviewed female users of this product for their views and/or experience in this regard.

I invite readers of this column to anonymously share their experience with me to increase my database and in the process put cheaper, but still effective remedies for erectile dysfunction within reach of persons living with disabilities who do not have the means to choose the more expensive options.