When the topic of erectile dysfunction is broached, Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital urologist Dr. Carrington Mason smiles.
He knows what many of us don’t. He knows there’s an app for that. And it could be a lifesaver – in more ways than one.
About 40 percent of men over age 40 have difficulty getting or maintaining an erection and that problem only increases with age. By age 70, 70 percent of men will face that same problem.
Kaiser Health News offers some added insight about why this is a problem: “For some older people, the joy of sex may be tempered by financial concerns: Can they afford the medications they need to improve their experience in bed? Medicare and many private insurers don’t cover the drugs that are prescribed to treat problems people have engaging in sex.”
So what’s a guy gonna do? Just 10 pills of prescription Viagra, according to Mason, can cost upwards of $600.
So, many men look for cheaper over-the-counter or online “male enhancement” products, but those often lack scientific backup and can be dangerous.
In late 2018, the Food & Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research took the unusual step of issuing a consumer advisory on a number of “male enhancement” supplements including the brand names Platinum Rhino 25000, Krazzy Rhino 25000 and Gold Rhino 25000, saying they contain an array of “unlisted ingredients” that “pose serious health risks.”
Those health risks include chest pain, severe headaches and extreme drops in blood pressure, which the FDA says have led to “surgical interventions and hospitalizations.”
Why? Because among those “unlisted ingredients” are phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors that can interact badly with nitrates found in thousands of prescription drugs, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels.
Since millions of Americans with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease take nitrates, a huge number of people can be put at risk by taking these PDE-5 inhibitor-laced, non-prescription ED products.
Mason says, “You know, all this is treatable and while a lot of people go down a lot of alleys trying to look for secret miracles, there really aren’t any. I mean it’s pretty straightforward.”
“Everybody wants to have the fountain of youth and they want to get all the results without any of the effort. People will spend money on that fantasy and [supplement makers] are providing it for them without necessarily having validated scientific evidence.”
Unlike over-the-counter supplements, all prescription ED drugs have been scientifically tested and shown to work. So do other alternatives including penile implants.
And then there’s the aforementioned app.
It’s called “Good Rx” and Mason is clearly a fan.
Remember that $600+ price tag for 10 100mg Viagra pills? Mason pulls out his phone, opens the app and almost instantly quotes a price of $29 for the same dosage of the generic version of Viagra. In this case, a savings of $582.
“If you can obtain a valid medication legally that’s the same comparable drug, cheaper, then why not do it,” Mason asks rhetorically.
“I had a lady in the office just a minute ago who had to spend $315 on her prescription. I showed her this app to put on her phone – I’m not an investor or anything like that – but her medication was only $77 with the app.”
That $238 savings on a single prescription will cover a good deal more than just one doctors’ office visit co-pay.
It might surprise some people that medical doctors like Mason do not spend their time looking for ways to increase their bill, but most, like Mason, are more than happy to show their patients ways to lower the cost of medical care.
Dr. Carrington Mason is with the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital. His office is at 3450 11th Court, Suite 303. The phone number is 772-794-9771.