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Viagra

Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is a prescription medicine taken by mouth for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. ED is a condition where the penis does not harden and expand when a man is sexually excited, or when he cannot keep an erection. Viagra may help a man with ED get and keep an erection when he is sexually excited. Viagra is only for men, not for women and children, and must be used only under a doctor's care.

Viagra does not:

  • Cure ED
  • Increase a man's sexual desire
  • Protect a man or his partner from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV
  • Serve as a male form of birth control.

Viagra was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 27, 1998. Viagra was the first oral pill to treat impotence, a dysfunction that affects millions of men in the United States. Viagra is manufactured by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

Viagra FDA Alert

In 2005, the FDA issued an alert for men using Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra. A small number of men have lost eyesight in one eye sometime after taking these drugs. This type of vision loss is called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). NAION causes sudden loss of eyesight because blood flow is blocked to the optic nerve.

The FDA still does not know if these drugs cause NAION, since this condition also occurs in men who do not take these medicines. People who have a higher chance of NAION include those who:

  • have heart disease
  • are over 50 years old
  • have diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high cholesterol
  • smoke
  • have certain eye problems

The FDA has approved new labels for Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra to include information on possible eyesight loss (NAION). If you experience a loss in your eyesight, stop using these medicines, and get medical help right away.

Who Should Not Take Viagra?

You should not take Viagra if you:

  • Take any medicines called "nitrates"
  • Use recreational drugs called "poppers", like amyl nitrate and butyl nitrate
  • Have been told by your healthcare professional to not have sexual activity because of health problems

Viagra Health Risks

Viagra can cause blood pressure to drop suddenly to an unsafe level if taken with certain other medicines such as nitrates and alpha-blockers, and recreational drugs that contain nitrates called "poppers." Sudden drops in blood pressure can cause dizziness, fainting, heart attack, or stroke.

Uncommon side effects of Viagra use include:

  • An erection that will not go away (priapism)
  • Vision changes, such as seeing a blue tinge to objects or having difficulty telling the difference between the colors blue and green

Common side effects of Viagra use include:

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Upset stomach
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Diarrhea

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Professional?

You should tell all your healthcare professionals that you take Viagra. If you need emergency medical care for a heart problem, it will be important for your healthcare professionals to know when you last took Viagra.

Before using Viagra, tell your healthcare professional if you:

  • have or had heart problems
  • have low blood pressure or have high blood pressure that is not controlled
  • have had a stroke
  • have liver problems
  • have ever had severe vision loss
  • have kidney problems or require dialysis
  • have retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic (runs in families) eye disease
  • have stomach ulcers
  • have a bleeding problem
  • have a deformed penis shape or Peyronie's disease
  • have had an erection that lasted more than 4 hours
  • have blood cell problems such as sickle cell anemia, multiple myeloma, or leukemia
  • are taking a medicine called a protease inhibitor for the treatment of HIV
  • are taking medicines called alpha blockers (alpha blockers are sometimes prescribed for prostate problems or high blood pressure)

Can Other Medicines or Food Affect Viagra?

Viagra and certain other medicines can interact with each other. Tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take - including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Getting Legal Help

While all medications have certain anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to make its products as reasonably safe as possible, and to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held legally responsible if patients are injured as the result of inadequate warnings or the unreasonably dangerous nature of the drug, under a legal theory called "product liability."

If you or a loved one have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual conditions while taking Viagra, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. You may also want to meet with a product liability attorney to discuss your options and to protect your right to compensation for any injuries caused by the medication.

See also:

  • Why Drugs Get Pulled from the Market
  • Pharmaceutical Product Liability
  • Next Steps
    Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure
    your rights are protected.
    (e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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