Prof. Mark Tettey, Ag. Director, National Cardiothoracic Centre, delivering his presentation. Picture: ERNEST KODZI
Prof. Mark Tettey, Ag. Director, National Cardiothoracic Centre, delivering his presentation. Picture: ERNEST KODZI

Seek advice if hypertension drugs make you sexually weak — Surgeon

A Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Professor Mark Tettey, has advised men who suffer from sexual weakness after taking antihypertensive drugs to consult their doctors for other medications instead of abandoning treatment altogether.

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Prof. Tettey said hypertension as a condition affected sexual function, hence the refusal to take medication could result in severe and deadly complications.

He explained that the sexual problems occasioned by antihypertensive drugs were not permanent so they could be taken care of if the patients informed their doctors.

"Not all the drugs can affect your sexual function; just some of them and people react to drugs differently.

If you are taking antihypertensive drugs and you are having problems with your sexual function, the best is to go back to your doctor and he will tell you what to do," he explained. 

PreCardix launch

Prof. Tettey said this at the launch of a new drug, PreCardix, a food supplement that has antihypertensive properties, in Accra last Wednesday.

PreCardix, a naturally occurring medication made from prawn shells, is a product of Marealis AS, a Norwegian company, and has already been approved for use by Health Canada, USA FDA; European Union's EFSA and Ghana's FDA.

Prof. Tettey said one of the main challenges doctors faced in the management of hypertension in patients, especially men, had been the drug affecting their sexual function which discouraged them from taking their medication.

“They will not tell us, but if we happen to go deep into their history, we find out that there is a problem with their sexual function whenever they take the antihypertensive,” he said.

He said some men were also not comfortable with the fact that they were on synthetic medication for life, explaining that they had the erroneous impression that being on synthetic medication could actually cause some complications for them at a point in time.

As a result, they shift to some natural and herbal medication just to find out if that could be of help, adding that unfortunately, a lot of them run into trouble when they do that.

Diagnosis hypertension

Making a presentation on diagnosis and evaluation of hypertension, the Head of Cardiology at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the University of Ghana Medical School, Dr Alfred Doku, said hypertension, which was one of the leading causes of death in the country, was driving stroke cases.

He disclosed that 90 per cent of stroke patients had hypertension as the primary cause, while over 60 per cent of hypertensive patients were also developing heart failure, with a significant number also having kidney cases.

“We need to concentrate to build the national capacity to manage hypertension and its complications.

Unfortunately, some people may have hypertension but they do not know.

They stay with it for years and then start having chest pains, blurred vision and other problems before they go to hospital and their blood pressure is checked and they notice it.”

“We have patients coming in with acute stroke from hypertension.

You ask the family whether they know he has hypertension and they say they don’t,” he said.

Dr Doku advised people to get screened for hypertension, adding that they could do it at home, hospitals or pharmacies but the best setting was their homes.

He, therefore, advised medical practitioners to encourage their patients to invest in purchasing the blood pressure machine for use at home.

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PreCardix

On PreCardix, the Chief Executive Officer of Marealis AS, Andreas Semmingsen, said the company, which was one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of cooked and peeled prawns, focused on creating valuable natural products of specific health benefits from by-products from the fish industry.

He said in 2008, following a ground-breaking scientific research by the Norwegian Institution of Fishery and Science which found out that peptides, small fragments of protein from prawn shells, had a blood pressure lowering effect, Stella Polaris decided to create Marealis AS and from that time to the next decade, it worked on producing PreCardix naturally.

He said the drug, which was manufactured without any artificial addictives, had been peer-reviewed, with a lot of investment in clinical trials to back up the product attribute. It is an over-the-counter drug.

The launch of PreCardix, which was attended by mainly medical doctors and pharmacists, had a Consultant Neurologist and Head of the Internal Medicine, Korle Bu, Prof. Patrick Adjei, as chairman and the one who also launched the product.

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Also present was the CEO of Marealis Africa, Adom Dennis, and Dr Desrie Delsol-Gyan, also from the National Cardiothoracic Centre, Korle Bu, as one of the speakers.

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