By Chioma Obinna
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, on Sunday raised the alarm over indiscriminate use of performance enhancing substances popularly known as aphrodisiacs, warning that consumption of such substances could lead to stroke, organ damage, or sudden death.
NAFDAC’s Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye who raised the alarm in her Christmas and New Year goodwill message to Nigerians, decried the preponderance of performance enhancing drugs otherwise known as ‘Manpower in the local parlance, in the Nigeria market.
Adeyeye said: “Most of the performance enhancing drugs are not registered with NAFDAC. They are smuggled into the country. If they were registered, the producers and peddlers alike would not be doing what they are doing in the supermarkets, social media platforms and on the streets.
Adeyeye lamented that many men have died using performance enhancing drugs and their relatives would blame their death on some imaginary witches in the village.
The NAFDAC boss also described as false the claim by the producers of the products that they have no side effects, insisting that majority of the products did not go through the approval process of the Agency.
She however, warned that the Agency would not relent in running after the peddlers of such dangerous drugs until they are brought to book for violating the regulations.
“Just like the need to have food and water, intimacy is also a primary requirement in life. Most human beings have the need for intimacy for a healthy sexual life which determines their overall wellbeing. If there are physical or psychological problems to a persons sexuality it can hamper their self-confidence.
“Many people today have been caught in the web of such circumstances leading them to seek a way out of the wood. In recent times, the use of aphrodisiacs has become the range.
Many people are ignorant of the possible damage that misuse of aphrodisiacs or use of unregistered drugs could cause.
Adeyeye, added that there are manufacturing and quality guidelines, and mandated regulations that control the production, importation, exportation, advertisement, and the use of such products.
According to her, unbridled use of aphrodisiacs has a lot of implications in the entire body system, noting that the use of the products could potentially affect the blood pressure of the body.
The NAFDAC boss further explained that when you have a disproportionate flow of blood to a particular part of the body and lasting longer than normal, they tend to disrupt the normal flow of the circulatory system.
Adeyeye also warned that aphrodisiacs could also interact with other drugs in the system, explaining that the liver is responsible for breakdown of drugs while the byproduct of all waste goes down through the kidneys.
When these things are used especially with some herbal medicines that dont have dosage and professional prescription, it can lead to internal organ damage. It can hurt the liver and the kidneys, leading to untimely death,” she warned.
“The way the body system works, everything should function the way God designed it. When they begin to disrupt those functions overtime it affects the imbalance and the ecosystem of how the body physiology works and can lead to unintended consequences..
For those who have certain health risks, like people that are hypertensive, or people that have heart disease, there is more of anxiety that the drug could stimulate into the system, and with anxiety, that can lead to changes in the physiology of the body and can lead to stroke or sudden stoppage of the heart.
These happen in cases when men suddenly slump during sexual intercourse as reported in Rivers and Cross Rivers States recently.
There are a lot of side effects. Every drug is a potential poison. Every drug has one side effect or the other. These are chemical products with side effects. In some cases there are associated Adverse Drug Reactions, which means it could lead to death or more serious organ damage depending on usage, she said.
She insisted that its not all cases of sudden death that are caused by witches and wizards in the village; but in most cases they are caused by what we eat or drink carelessly
She urged Nigerians to eat right and drink right to avoid health complications after the festive period.
Adeyeye recalled that over N3b worth of falsified and banned drugs and unwholesome food products were seized by the Agency recently at the Lagos Trade fair complex where no fewer than 20 trailer loads of such banned and unwholesome products were carted away by officers of the Agencys Investigation and enforcement directorate led by Barrister Kingsley Ejiofor.
She disclosed that some of the drugs impounded at the trade fair complex were performance enhancing drugs. Worse still they are counterfeited. When something is counterfeited, the manufacturers dont care about quality. They add what they are not supposed to add or add more than what they are supposed to add. Invariably, the user is the loser, she said.
Adeyeye however, disclosed that the Agency has ordered 40 units of a detecting device, TRU SCAN, worth 70,000 dollars each for use on the field to spot check the medicines. She explained: The device will show you whether a drug is 5mg or 50mg. Before, it would only show you that its X-drug, it will not show you the level. This device is both qualitative and quantitative!
According to Adeyeye, NAFDAC is the first Agency in the world to use the Tru Scan which does quantitative spot check on the chemical content in the medicines. It will show the chemical level of the drug.
“This is part of the multifaceted approach we are adopting in fighting the preponderance of banned and falsified drugs in the country,” she said, blaming the menace on people that want to make quick money at the expense of the health and lives of undiscerning consumers.
“We will ensure we minimise falsification of drugs to the level that will give a lot of confidence to the consumers.”