Practicing family physicians from the UNC Department of Family Medicine have teamed up with The Carrboro Citizen to bring you a weekly feature responding to your questions about health and medicine. Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we respond to questions about Viagra and Weight Watchers.
Dear HOUSE Calls, These are tough economic times, and with Viagra being $10 a pill, I have been researching alternatives. Is the Extenze pill effective?
You are right that Viagra and some similar pills can be very expensive, and we understand why you might want to investigate other options. We have seen the early-morning infomercials too, but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Extenze is an herbal supplement with amino acids and ginseng and a combination of other herbs, especially yohimbe, which has long been used to promote libido and erectile function. The manufacturers claim the product increases the size of the penis, enhances performance during intercourse and increases stamina. There is no evidence that any of this is true; however, there may be a placebo effect for some people. It may be worth spending your money on something actually proven to work. One tip with Viagra: Most people can use a 50mg dose. Ask your doctor to write a prescription for the 100mg dose (which is the same price per tablet as a 50mg pill) and use half each time.
Dear HOUSE Calls, My sister lost 18 pounds with Weight Watchers. I am so impressed that I am thinking about trying it. Do you recommend this or any other particular program? I am a 40-year-old woman with a desk job and need to lose about 30 pounds.
We are pretty big fans of Weight Watchers. All of us have successful personal, family or friend experience with this program. We even had a Weight Watchers program at our family medicine center for a while. Basically, most diet programs work, with some harder than others and some more expensive than others. The most important element of any diet program is that you learn new habits and stick with those habits â€“ forever. That is a tall order. Part of the Weight Watchers program is teaching portion control, which is a critical lifelong skill for people struggling with their weight. There have been a variety of studies comparing the effectiveness of commercial diet programs, and Weight Watchers often comes out at or near the top for the combination of effectiveness and sustainability. Medical weight loss programs are somewhat more effective, much more expensive and less sustainable over time. It sounds like you might not be that active. Try adding a walk in over lunch. Congratulations for thinking about doing something great for yourself.
House Calls is a weekly column by Dr. Adam Goldstein, Dr. Cristy Page and Dr. Adam Zolotor on behalf of Your Health and the UNC Department of Family Medicine.