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Viagra

MagazineAugust 1998 (Vol. 9 Issue 5)Viagra

Since being approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in March, Viagra (sildenafil) has quickly become one of the most successful drugs in America gaining an enormous amount of worldwide press publicity along the way

Since being approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in March, Viagra (sildenafil) has quickly become one of the most successful drugs in America gaining an enormous amount of worldwide press publicity along the way.

As you probably already know, Viagra treats impotence, or penile dysfunction as it is currently called. In just one week last April, a record 113,000 prescriptions were written out for it in America, compared with an average of 3,000 or so for any common or garden wonder drug. No wonder the drug has earned the nickname of "Pfizer Riser" after the manufacturer.

So successful has the drug been that there is already a black market for it, and even some sexually active men are trying to get hold of the magic tablets just to improve their performance.

While some men are celebrating the belated return of their manhood, others would have a different story to tell, if they were alive to tell it. Six men died after taking the drug, and the Israeli health authority was the first to ban its introduction there, although it is not clear if the drug was directly responsible for the deaths.

Despite this, the UK drug authority is pressing ahead to make the drug available on the NHS, no doubt impressed by reports that there are no side effects being recorded.

This, however, is not so. A recent study of 532 men taking the drug revealed that reactions after short term use included flushing, dyspepsia, visual disturbances and headache.

So, just as you're able to perform for the first time in ages, you're forced to call it off and you have to blame it on one of the oldest excuses in the book (New Eng J Med, 1998; 338: 1397-404).


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