Viagra: Brief History and Precautions

Viagra is one of the most controversial and widely talked about pharmaceutical drugs to have hit the market in the last 30 years. It is most commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Viagra works by relaxing the muscles in the walls of blood vessels in certain areas of the body. In most cases, Viagra works well and has changed people’s lives for the better.

In this article, we will look briefly at the history of Viagra and why it is used; we will also cover the pros and cons, side effects, and warnings.

Fast facts on ViagraHere are some key points about Viagra. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Viagra was initially designed to treat hypertension and angina pectoris.
  • Viagra’s main competitors are Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil).
  • Viagra pills are blue and diamond-shaped.
  • Individuals with kidney disease should not take Viagra.
  • Some people use Viagra recreationally, although it is not thought to have any benefit for people without penile dysfunction.

Viagra side effects and precautions

According to clinical trial results, the most common side effects include:

  • headaches
  • nasal congestion
  • impaired vision
  • photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • dyspepsia (indigestion)

Less commonly, some users have experienced cyanopsia (everything appears to have a tinted blue tinge).

In very rare cases, Viagra use can lead to nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (damage to the optic nerve).

Other potential side effects include:

  • priapism (very rare) – a painful, long-lasting erection
  • heart attack
  • sudden hearing loss
  • increased intraocular pressure
  • ventricular arrhythmias

Since 2007, Viagra’s labeling in the United States has included a warning of the potential risk of sudden hearing loss.

Viagra can decrease blood supply to the optic nerve, causing sudden vision loss. This very rare adverse event occurs mainly in people with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, or pre-existing eye problems. Nobody really knows whether the vision loss was caused by the Viagra.

Brief history of Viagra

Initially, Viagra was designed by Pfizer scientists working in Kent, England. They were, in fact, working on a drug for hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (a symptom of ischemic heart disease).

During the phase 1 trials, it was noted that the drug did very little to prevent angina but did induce marked penile erections. Hitting the market in 1998, Viagra was the first oral treatment approved to treat erectile dysfunction in the U.S.

Viagra’s meteoric rise to fame has seen it enter usage as an illicit drug. But, Viagra use in individuals without erectile dysfunction does not seem to have any effect. Although, researchers have noted that there is a significant placebo effect. On a similar note, there is no proven benefit for women taking the drug.

In 2008, Viagra generated some $1.93 billion of revenue for Pfizer.

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