- LONDON - Misuse of the anti-impotence drug Viagra as an aphrodisiac
to improve sexual performance could cause permanent impotence, a British
doctor said on Thursday.
- Dr Roger Kirby, a urologist at St George's
Hospital in London, said the magic blue pill that revived the sex lives
of millions could cause persistent and painful erections in potent men,
as well as muscle damage that could be permanent.
- "Firstly there are no data to support
the claim that sildenafil (Viagra) really does improve the normal erection
or alter orgasmic sensation," Kirby said in a report in Student BMJ,
a British medical journal.
- Misuse of the drug also causes a condition
called priapism, prolonged erections. "This in turn may lead to permanent
erectile dysfunction," Kirby said.
- Viagra, made by pharmaceutical giant
Pfizer Inc, has been one of the world's best selling drugs since it was
launched last year. To the estimated one in 10 men who suffer from impotence
it offers new hope of a normal sex life.
- But the recreational use of Viagra in
discos and nightclubs among potent men has sparked concern among doctors.
Kirby said these men should also be aware of other side effects of the
drug such as headaches, facial flushing, heartburn and vision problems
including seeing a "blue haze."
- More than 70 men have died after taking
Viagra, prompting Pfizer to add new warnings on the drug's label. The company
recommends that men with a history of heart disease, low blood pressure
and heart attacks should be examined before taking the pill.
- Men using nitrate-based drugs for heart
disease and angina must not use Viagra.
- "Not many clubbers suffer from angina,
but the nitric oxide donor amyl nitrate (in "poppers") is sometimes
used as an orgasm enhancer. The combination of this with Sildenafil is
potentially extremely hazardous," Kirby added.
- The combination of the drugs could lead
to a drop in blood pressure which could cause a heart attack or stroke.
- "Sildenafil has little to offer
normally potent men and usage by them carries inherent risk," Kirby