The Skinny on Chubs

For New Yorkers afflicted by job stress and alcohol addiction, erection drugs (oral phosphodiesterase inhibitors, hereafter "OPIs") may be a tempting proposition. We've received enough interesting reader mail on the subject that we decided to consult a urologist. Here's what we got:

Brand's Irrelevant: Despite what Raffy Palmeiro says, all brands are essentially the same -- Cialis lasts longer, but its 17-hour effective duration's most useful for legitimately dysfunctional men. One difference: Viagra and Levitra work best on an empty stomach, but with The C you can feast -- perfect if you're stuck buying her a pre-ravishment dinner.

Take One At A Time: Though OPI's are relatively safe, even a prescribed amount can cause complications. Since the receptors these drugs target are limited in number, taking more only increases risk -- from the mild (flushing, headaches, etc.) to the not mild (stroke, heart attack, blindness).

Hit The Hospital: When your erection's still raging after four hours, you've got priapism. The treatment's not pleasurable (needles, bloodletting, possibly surgery), but necessary to avoid permanent damage, i.e., Gangr-enis.

You Can Probably Drink: Doctors fear this increases hypotension, but no one's certain, and one major study found little correlation. So hurry up, before less favorable findings come out.

You Can Maybe Do Other Drugs: There have been no significant studies on combining OPIs with illicit drugs. However, certain stimulants (cocaine, crack, meth) can increase risk of priapism, so moderate your immoderateness.

Don't Fear The Future: As of now, there are no known long-term side effects -- except a reputation for studliness that, in order to maintain, will require you to court short-term side effects night after night.