this is a navigational image map, please load this image to continue.

 

 

Viagra raises science of sexual dysfunction to a new level
Gene Therapy

'I hereby make the outrageous claim that Viagra will become the world's biggest drug success story,
bigger than anything that has ever been seen.'
-- Gruntal & Co. analyst David Saks

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the new impotence drug Viagra in March.

In March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Viagra, the first pill to treat impotence in men.

Pfizer Inc.'s "erection enhancer," as one doctor put it, took the country by storm, boosting the company's stock along with the spirits of many men suffering from impotence. Even after the initial hype surrounding the drug's debut had subsided, it was clear that the science of sexual dysfunction had entered a new era -- one that made it big business.

The ripples began before FDA approval. "I hereby make the outrageous claim that Viagra will become the world's biggest drug success story, bigger than anything that has ever been seen," said David Saks, an analyst with Gruntal & Co.

More than 3 million prescriptions were written for Viagra during the first five months after it went on the market in April.

Viagra is effective for an estimated seven out of 10 patients. It is the first non-surgical treatment for impotence that doesn't have to be either injected or inserted directly into the penis. Unlike mechanical devices, it will not cause an erection unless a man is sexually stimulated.

The drug enhances the relaxant effect of nitric oxide, a chemical released during sexual stimulation that increases blood flow to the penis, leading to an erection.

Many doctors cautioned that Viagra is not a magic pill that can cure any form of impotence, nor is it candy to be taken lightly. Those who are on heart disease drugs such as nitroglycerin are warned they could die if they take Viagra, and some researchers have suggested than any cardiovascular complaint might put a man at higher risk of a heart attack if he takes Viagra.

In September, the New England Journal of Medicine published new research that showed Viagra's side effects can include fatal lung complications. The consumer group Public Citizen has filed a petition with the FDA demanding that more warning labels be put on the drug.

But in spite of the risks, Viagra remains a hit, and other pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to develop competitive products.

In October, three U.S. scientists -- whose work dating back decades helped lead to the development of Viagra -- won the 1998 Nobel Prize in medicine. Robert Furchgott, Louis Ignarro and Ferid Murad discovered that the body uses nitric oxide to regulate blood vessels. Their discovery also has applications for treating conditions ranging from heart disease to shock.
Viagra
Something in Our Food
Human Stem Cells
Fighting Breast Cancer
Hepatitis C
Alternative Medicine
Emergency Contraception
The HMO Debate
Tobacco Targets Teens
   
this is a navigational image map, please load this image to continue.