HealthLiving

Vlada Korol: HIStory of That Little Blue Pill – Viagra

One the most commonly filled prescriptions for men is none other than that little, blue diamond shaped tablet.  Everyone knows that Viagra is prescribed for erectile dysfunction (ED), but few people know the history of this medication and what purpose it was originally meant for.

It all began in 1985, the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer decided to create a medication for high blood pressure and heart failure.  Their idea was, a medication which would dilate the blood vessels, which would decrease blood pressure (increase blood flow to the body’s organs), and reduce the workload of the heart.  Their plan was to develop a medication to act on an enzyme in the blood vessel walls, enhancing nitric oxide, hence relaxing smooth muscle, resulting in vasodilation.  For the next half of the decade many different molecules were created, but one specific molecule discovered by Andrew Bell, Dr David Brown, and Dr Nicholas Terrett, called Sildenafil (later given the brand name Viagra) really stood out.  In 1991-92, clinical trials began to determine the safety of Sildenafil in healthy individuals.  The studies found that Sildenefil was safe…and noticed a very particular side effect in the male population of the study! (1)  This side effect was…..having erections more often.  While scientists also noticed that the effects on angina (chest pain), circulation/ heart related conditions were mild (2).

In 1993 it was decided that Viagra would be studied specifically for erectile dysfunction. “In these trials, neither patients nor doctors knew if patients were taking actual Viagra or a placebo.  Over 3,000 patients from age 19 to 87 participated in the trials, and in 21 separate studies, Viagra produced statistically significant results compared to placebos.” (1)  The drug was patented by 1997 “and the clinical trials found sildenafil citrate to be so effective, that the US Food and Drug (FDA) approved it for prescription sale only six months after submission, at the end of March, 1998.” (3) In 1998, scientists Robert F. Furchgott, Ferid Murad, and Louis J. Ignarro received the outmost prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology/ Medicine,for proving that nitric oxide signals the heart muscle, controlling vasodilation.

In 1998, Viagra entered the market as the first pill of its’ kind, for Erectile Dysfunction. “In the first three months after Viagra was put on the market, almost 3 million prescriptions were written for it. It is interesting to note that in 1990 only one kilogram of Viagra was manufactured. When Viagra was launched in 1998, one kilogram was enough to supply the world with Viagra – for 10 minutes. Today, more than 45 tons of Viagra are consumed every year.” (1)  Originally, Viagra cost approximately $10 per tablet… the current price today is between $23-$25, and it ONLY available BY PRESCRIPTION within the United States.

Of course for men, it can be uncomfortable to walk into a pharmacy to fill a prescription for Viagra.  As a pharmacist, I can assure you that it is a commonly filled prescription, and there is absolutely no need to feel uncomfortable.  Pharmacists are trained to attend to various situations and health related issues.  We do not judge, and we keep patients’ private information confidential.  We are happy that there is a medication available to help men attain a happier intimate life. Take Viagra only as directed by your physician and pharmacist.  Caution to patients with high or uncontrolled blood pressure and those taking blood pressure medications (especially nitrates!)  Always consult with your doctor or pharmacists on drug interactions!  Think about it, if Viagra can decrease blood pressure….and you are on an additional blood pressure medication…Your blood pressure can fall too low!  Serious side effects include sudden vision loss, ringing in your ears, or sudden hearing loss, chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling, irregular heartbeat, swelling in your hands, arnkles, or feet, shortness of breath, vision changes, feeling light-headed, fainting. (4)  If any side effect occurs, stop taking the medication and contact your doctor.  Further, a rare but possible side effect called priapism can happen. Priapism, is a penis erection that is painful or lasts 4 hours or longer, in this case go to the emergency room immediately!

Kedvon Pharmacy is ready to help with a any health issues, common, sensitive topics, or rare cases, please contact us to fulfill your prescription needs. (847) 459-0001

Sources:

(1).  http://www.accessrx.com/blog/ererctile-dysfunction/history-viagra/

(2).  http://www.about-ed.com/viagra-history

(3).  http://www.viagrabox.com/history-of-viagra-sildenafil-citrate/

(4).  http://www.drugs.com/sfx/viagra-side-effects.html

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