The musings of a chemist working in a forensics lab

Parental Guidance Required

or 'for mature audiences' as we say Down Under.

This post is about comedy drug names I came across this week.


Yes really. Chavicine is a real name. It's a component of freshly ground black pepper. I say 'freshly' as chavicine is an isomer of piperine and over time will transform into piperine, changing the flavour of the pepper.

Erectile dysfunction drugs

The prescription versions of these drugs have rather dull names like Viagra but there is a thriving market in 'herbal' erectile dysfunction remedies. These are popular with those who aren't keen to consult with their GP.

In my lab we occasionally get sent samples of these remedies to find out what (if any) active ingredients are present in them. The names of these preparations range from the innocuous Hero and Real Man to the decidedly unsubtle Rock Hard, Keepitup and Stiff One to the frankly alarming Cockstar.

There is a serious (ahem) point about these remedies which is that many consumers believe them to be completely safe because they are often sold with labelling suggesting they are all-natural alternatives. In fact, they can often contain undisclosed prescription drugs and non-drug adulterants (more on these later).

The fact that some contain sildenafil (Viagra) itself may not appear on the face of it to be a problem, except that sildenafil should not be taken with certain prescription medications as the combined effects may lower blood pressure to unsafe levels.

It's quite common to find absolutely no active ingredients at all in these remedies and actually just find things like gypsum, fertilisers, printing ink and paint.

An interesting old-style erectile dysfunction drug is the opiate papverine which occurs naturally in the opium derived from certain types of poppy. It's fallen out of fashion now as it has to be administered by intracavernosal injection over two minutes. Although the 'effects' lasts for up to four hours it seems rather unlikely that a sharp needle at the base of the penis would put anyone in the mood...

Posted by brownsuitgirl on Sep 8, 2012 9:32 AM GMT

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