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Male stamina drugs seized from Halifax corner store can be dangerous, expert warns

Nova Scotia

Health Canada has issued a safety alert over the sale of unauthorized erectile dysfunction drugs.

Dr. Hali Bauld is a founder of the Truro Sexual Health Centre and currently the medical director at the Halifax Sexual Health Centre. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

The seizure of unauthorized erectile dysfunction drugs from a Halifax convenience store has prompted a warning from health officials about the potentially dangerous products.

On Oct. 12, Health Canada issued a safety alert advising that a product called Rush Hour 72 was seized from Convenience 4 U on the Bedford Highway near Larry Uteck Boulevard.

The single-dose pill's packaging touts "72 hours of stamina" and says it is "100 per cent natural guaranteed."

Dr. Hali Bauld, the medical director at the Halifax Sexual Health Centre, questions those claims.

"You don't know what you're being dispensed," said Bauld.

"You're not entirely sure if this is a drug that's been approved through Health Canada, so that's the problem."

Rush Hour 72 was seized from Convenience 4 U at 604 Bedford Hwy.(Health Canada)

Health Canada told CBC News via email that Rush Hour 72 was seized and tested in 2017 and was found to contain both sildenafil and tadalafil, prescription drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Health Canada also states on its website that products like these may contain cheap filler ingredients not listed on the label. The products may be made under unsanitary conditions and could be contaminated with mould, bacteria and chemicals used to make other products on the same site, Health Canada warns.

It says selling unauthorized health products is illegal in Canada and it takes action to prevent their distribution.

Similar drugs have been seized across the country, often from convenience stores and adult stores, according to Health Canada.

Convenience 4 U did not respond immediately to CBC's request for comment.

Can interact with other medication

Bauld said erectile dysfunction drugs are prescription-only due to the reaction they may have with other medications or conditions.

"If someone is using these medications, we usually like to speak to them and counsel them first because we need to know what their health history is — specifically, if they have a history of cardiovascular disease," she said.

If someone is already taking a medication that dilates the blood vessels, their blood vessels could dilate too much and they could lose consciousness or have very low blood pressure.

Bauld said these pills can also lead to a painful condition, priapism, that can land people in the emergency room.

"Priapism, in medical terms, is a persistent and prolonged erection," said Bauld.

It can last for four to six hours and in some cases requires medical intervention, she said.

"The penis needs to be drained, and it's an invasive procedure," said Bauld. "It can be dangerous and people could thereby have damage to their penis and lose permanent sexual function in rare cases."

Bauld said people are often too embarrassed to tell their doctor about erectile dysfunction, but it's important to destigmatize the condition.

"Sometimes when we're dealing with problems that are perceived to be embarrassing or stigmatized, it drives people to use products that maybe aren't safe," said Bauld.

"We want to try and prevent that by talking about these things openly."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Feleshia Chandler is a journalist based in Halifax. She loves helping people tell their stories and has interests in issues surrounding LGBTQ+ people as well as Black, Indigenous and people of colour. You can reach her at feleshia.chandler@cbc.ca

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