By KEMI FISAYO

In the medical world, sex enhancement drugs are known as aphrodisiacs. They are foods, drinks, or other things that stimulate sexual desire.

Aphrodisiacs are commonplace and can be purchased in any standard pharmacy. However, what many people don’t know is that sex enhancement drugs can send them to the great beyond, as was the case of a middle-aged man, simply identified as Samson.

Samson was found dead in a hotel room at Ugboroke in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State after allegedly taking an overdose of sex-enhancement drugs. As the story goes, even in death, his penis was still standing erect!

In another instance, a 40-year-old man Paul Okwudili was confirmed dead around 3.am on the 24th of February 2020, after having had sex with a lady in Onitsha, Anambra State. The incident reportedly happened in an Onitsha hotel. As the details unfolded, Mr Okwudili had lodged in the hotel with the lady, whose identity was not revealed in the statement. But, later that night, the lady raised an alarm that the man had collapsed. This attracted the attention of the hotel’s management. It was discovered that there were no marks of violence on the deceased body but some drugs were discovered in the hotel room, reasonably suspected to be sex enhancement drugs. The lady, whose age was put at about 30 years said that the victim’s organ refused to stand initially, so he took the drugs in her presence and that after some time, the male organ got erect and they started their session. “But, while having intercourse, she noticed that the man was behaving strangely, hence she ran out and shouted for help.

In December 2019, an unidentified man had also died in a guest house, after allegedly taking sex enhancing drugs to sleep with a commercial sex worker during a night out. On searching for the man’s bag, they found several sex enhancement drugs, which suggested that the deceased man may have died after taking the drugs to enhance his libido. The lady disclosed that they had sex only once around 5:00 am, after which the man dozed off again. At about 6:00 am, as she was about leaving the room, she tried to wake him up for her to be paid but the man was lifeless so she had to call for help.

Why do men resort to taking sex enhancement drugs? A psychologist, Justice Tochi Agoha says that it may be on account of both physiological and psychological factors.

‘By and large, from available research indices, men mostly result to sex-enhancing drugs so that they may last longer in the act (strong erection and delayed ejaculation – which is physiological) and somewhat to perform better in bed probably to satisfy their partner while having a sense of virility which is in this case psychological.’

However, and in his view, the majority of problems associated with sexual performance are more psychological than physiological:

For example, what does a satisfying sexual experience mean to men?

This is more psychological than physiological.

Psychological in terms of

Thoughts => Feelings => Actions/Behaviour.

Agoha situates these further within the dynamics of what he calls the psychology of Sex, saying that ‘men can derive a sense of self-esteem, confidence, & happiness from their sexual experience depending on whether it is fulfilling or not. And for the sake of the above, some men might result in the use of sex-enhancing drugs.’

On her part, Pharmacist Ogunri of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC outlined that the mandate of NAFDAC has to do with the control and regulation of the importation, exportation, advertisement sales of medicine when it comes to the practice of pharmacy the pharmacist council of Nigeria ensures that the practice of pharmacy is properly done professionally. They ensure that the drugs that are procured over the counter that requires prescription are obtained via prescription and are properly documented for necessary review and if possible monitoring after the person has used them.

Ogunri further explains that if it is prescription-only medicine there is need to trace how the person affected procured the medicine, the kind of product used and other medicines used alongside the product or the food consumed with the product.

There are food and drug interactions, there are drug and drug interactions, there are drug and illness interactions; there are different things that can be responsible for any negative effect that may have occurred with the use of that medicine. If they are prescription-only medicine, then it has to do with the practice of prescription behaviour within our society and is outside the purview of NAFDAC. It is within the purview of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and it is the practice of pharmacy that needs to be strengthened to ensure that medicines that require a prescription are properly dispensed with the use of prescription. The prescription-only medicines require a prescription and are supposed to be obtained from registered pharmaceutical premises with the prescription from a medical practitioner and after a medical practitioner has done the necessary diagnoses and has prescribed it then it can be procured from a registered pharmacy. Then when it comes to nutritional supplements that also enhance sexual health or may actually not require a prescription but because they are nutritional supplements in that case, the pharmacist has the professional responsibility to guide on the use of such product.

An official of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria said their role is to register where the pharmaceutical activity is taking place which is the pharmaceutical premises. Each pharmaceutical premise must be superintended by a pharmacist. The role of the pharmacist is to give advice on when and how to take drugs prescribed by medical personnel. The law of the land is stipulated that for a drug to be dispensed it has to pass through medical personnel for adequate and proper diagnosis of the disease or ailment. The doctor will write the prescription to the patient to go to a pharmacy or even a hospital pharmacy which is headed by a pharmacist for the prescription to pass through him. The pharmacist is trained on the job knows the correct dosage because doctors can make mistakes given that they are human beings. The pharmacist at that point can advise him to reduce it. The pharmacist will also advise you on when to take it, whether after or before a meal. The PCN registers all those premises and also regulates pharmacy technicians. The government should strengthen the regulatory body to do their work because there are open markets all over the country.

In his own opinion, he advised the government to disbar all open market drug sales outfits because that is where fake and substandard drugs are sold. A pharmacist cannot sell fake drugs and also won’t tell you to take a drug because they want to sell it. A pharmacist can only advise you to take the alternative if he doesn’t have the prescribed drug. There is a collaboration between NAFDAC and Pharmacists in such a way that in a registered pharmacy shop, NAFDAC will go with a yellow form which is a pharmacovigilance instrument so that if there is any reaction of a particular drug it will be referred to them.

He concluded with this charge: “if you have any disease or ailment, go to the medical doctor to diagnose and prescribe drugs for you; also when buying drugs, go to a registered pharmacy to buy the drugs”.

Who then can take sex enhancing pills? A medical practitioner, Dr Olusola Oluyeba explained further that medication for sex enhancement should be given under strict medical personnel prescription.

“Those drugs are meant for a correction after such patient must have been evaluated. Truly, some men go through a period of low libido based on certain ailments or as a result of the absence of certain hormones. Unfortunately, however, some abuse them in our parts just like they do any other medication.”

Dr Oluyeba explained further that most; if not all sex enhancement drug medications contain testosterone. What testosterone does is to give extra energy to the nerves thereby opening up the blood vessels. As a result, the rate at which the heart pumps blood into the blood vessels increases and this also increases the heart pressure.

“Some of the victims who got killed as a result may be linked to heart-related disorders. They took these medications without paying attention to the state of their hearts. Possibly, as a result of an overdose,’ he observed.

And one final point of counsel from the doctor: ‘during sexual activity, if you become dizzy or nauseated, or have pain, numbness, or tingling in your chest, arms, neck, or jaw, stop and go and see the doctor right away!’ You have been warned!