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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:23 pm 
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Location: Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian men prefer traditional treatment for ED, shy away from doctors
Pank Jit Sin

(DrEddyClinic News) When it comes to information and health advice about erectile dysfunction (ED), Malaysian men may be barking up the wrong tree, reveals a survey.

The survey, released by Pfizer in May, looked at Malaysian men’s attitudes towards erectile dysfunction and traditional treatment. It discovered that 37 percent of Malaysian men think or believe that herbal remedies are healthier for their bodies compared with Western medication. Of the number surveyed, only 23 percent considered face-to-face consultation with a doctor to be a preferred source of information.

The survey further revealed that 52 percent of men get their health information from healthcare websites while 42 percent of men source information from product websites. Dr. Salvinder Singh, product physician, Pfizer Malaysia, noted that 31 percent trust herbal remedies and a further 37 percent Malaysian men believe that herbal remedies are healthier compared to Western medication.

As a reflection of this finding (that many men believe herbs to be healthier than medication), the survey found that 92 percent of respondents knew about tongkat ali and its usage in the treatment of ED. A total of 20 percent were ever users of tongkat ali. In comparison, while 87 percent of respondents knew about phosphodiesterase type 5(PDE5) inhibitors, only 5 percent have ever used it.

The survey tried to look at the reason patients are reluctant to talk to doctors about ED and discovered that 71 percent of them believe ED would not be recognized as a medical problem. A large majority—68 percent—fear that discussing sexuality may embarrass their doctors. A total of 44 percent of respondents attending urologists have ED but fail to mention it as they are too embarrassed.

As most Malaysian men were too shy to speak to their doctors, their main source of information came from internet healthcare websites, product websites, printed materials, word of mouth and various other sources from the internet. Salvinder cautioned that going through those channels could potentially expose men to counterfeit medication and wrong or misguided information.

Dr. John P. Mulhall, director, male sexual and reproductive medicine program, department of urology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, US, said the body of evidence for plant (herbal remedies) preparations in the treatment of ED is very weak based on papers published on Medline (based on a search using the terms sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and plant preparations plus erectile dysfunction and drug therapy).

Additionally, many herbal products illegally contain PDE5 inhibitors. In the US, 15 out of 26 herbal products tested by the FDA came back positive for PDE5 inhibitor or an analogue. Similarly, in France, 8 out of 17 herbal dietary supplements assessed by a laboratory for the presence of PDE5 inhibitors or its analogues came back positive.

Mulhall pointed out that natural doesn’t always mean safe. Many herbal remedies for ED work because they contain PDE5 inhibitors. Furthermore constant consumption of these herbal remedies may harm other organs in the body, as there is insufficient information about its long-term use.

Perhaps the most important factor to take into consideration when patients take herbal remedies and skip visiting a doctor is that they may very well miss the opportunity to detect other diseases. ED is a precursor to many other conditions—hypertension, cardiovascular disease, angina, dyslipidaemia and diabetes. In fact, 57 percent of men who had bypass surgery had prior ED and 64 percent of men hospitalized for myocardial infarction had prior ED. [J Urol 1994;151(1):54–61, Am J Cardiol 1999;83(5A):1C–2C ]

Both Mulhall and Salvinder were speaking at a media awareness event, held in Kuala Lumpur recently.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:04 pm 
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