The discovery that sildenafil could lead to an erection wasn't exactly a planned event. Like any drug with a side effect, The "sex pill" was originally developed by Pfizer for the treatment of...

Often dubbed “the little blue pill”, Viagra (sildenafil) was the first phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitor which now is mostly used for erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is a common sexual problem for men and its frequency increases with age.

man taking blue pill in bed

It is estimated roughly 30 million men in the U.S. have ED. A large U.S. survey determined about 50% of men 40 to 70 years of age experience some degree of ED. Men with diabetes are 3 times more likely to have ED.

The Unexpected Discovery of Viagra Pill
The discovery that sildenafil could lead to an erection wasn’t exactly a planned event. The sildenafil compound was originally developed by Pfizer for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (chest pain due to heart disease). During the heart clinical trials, researchers discovered that the drug was more effective at inducing erections than treating angina. Pfizer realized ED was an unmet medical need and a major opportunity for financial gain. In 1998, the FDA approved Viagra, the first oral treatment for erectile dysfunction, under a priority review.

The Impact of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Erectile dysfunction (ED), or the inability to achieve and maintain an erect penis for sexual function, can lead to performance anxiety, a negative impact on self-esteem and personal relationships, and even clinical depression.

In a survey published in BMJ, 62 percent of men reported a decline in self esteem, 29 percent reported a negative effect on a relationship, and 21 percent reported that their relationship had ceased due to ED. For many men, the inability to perform adequately during sex directly affects their feelings of masculinity.

Viagra Drug Interactions

Have your pharmacist or doctor check for drug interactions, too. Viagra has close to 300 drug interactions currently, and some can be serious.

  • Men who use nitrates (such as nitroglycerin or isosorbide) should never use Viagra or other PDE5 inhibitors (Cialis, Levitra, Stenda, or Staxyn) due to severe, possibly fatal hypotension (low blood pressure). The risk of other side effects such as dizziness, fainting, headache, flushing, heart palpitations, and priapism (a prolonged and painful erection unrelated to sexual activity) may also increase.
  • Combining PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra with alcohol can also lead to low blood pressure. Ask your doctor if it is safe for you to consume alcohol with Viagra.
  • Alpha-adrenergic antagonists (for example, terazosin), may be used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in some patients, and may lead to low blood presure, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, flushing, headache, and nasal congestion if used with PDE5 inhibitors.

Upon testing the counterfeit Viagra, Pfizer found these chemicals in the illegal drugs:

  • blue printer ink
  • amphetamines, also known as “speed”
  • metronidazole, a powerful antibiotic that could cause an allergic reaction, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • too much active ingredient (or not enough), which may cause you harm
  • binding agents, such as drywall, that prevent the tablet from breaking down in your system.–Survivors-Medical-Care-Rights-GBV-e1uo86d

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