The History of Viagra

Viagra as a drug used for erectile dysfunction was actually an unexpected outcome of the initial research done in the 1980s. The drug was first synthesised by medical scientists at Pfizer in England in 1989. The final outcome would be the citrate base salt known as Sildenafil, which was patented in the United States in 1996 and first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use against erectile dysfunction in 1998.

Viagra’s story is one of a drug that failed but then turned into a success for a completely different dysfunction. Then, later research found it be successful for a type of high blood pressure known as pulmonary arterial hypertension. The drug has since been a symbol of sexual activity as well as a symbol of hope for men who suffer from sexual impotence.

Viagra is not an over the counter or off the shelf drug and must be obtained through a doctor’s prescription. If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction or pulmonary arterial hypertension, then talk to your doctor today about Viagra.

Origins

 

In the late 1980s, scientists at Pfizer in Kent, England designed and synthesised a drug they hoped would provide an efficacious and novel treatment for a type of high blood pressure known as angina. Angina is a type of pain in the chest that is most commonly linked to coronary heart disease. In 1991, one of the doctors responsible for the synthesis, Dr. Nicholas Terrett, designated the drug and Viagra for the sake of naming the patent.

During the early 1990s, Pfizer carried out several phase three trials in hopes the drug would be a success in the fight against angina and high blood pressure. However, the trials offered little to no hope for those suffering from the ailments. Instead, participants of the trial were reporting increases in erections after taking the drug. With human trials for angina leading nowhere, Pfizer decided to conduct a series of human trials in patients suffering from erectile dysfunction.

The drug proved to be extremely successful in treating erectile dysfunction and was soon marketed in the United States for men suffering from the dysfunction.

Rise to Popularity

 

In 1998, the FDA approved the prescription of the drug for use in individuals suffering from sexual impotence. In the first several weeks the drug entered the US market, pharmacists reported handed out over 40,000 prescriptions.

The drug soon rose even more in popular culture, getting a front cover debut on Time magazine and being referenced in a popular HBO TV show, Sex and the City in the episode titled “The Man, The Myth, the Viagra”. As the early 2000s went on, the drug became more and more synonymous with sex culture and jokes.

Finally, after years of cornering the market almost exclusively, other companies like Bayer received FDA approval for similar drugs treating erectile dysfunction. Lilly also got approved for a drug now known as Cialis with slightly different compounds but similar results and side effects, though men with abnormally high blood pressure have been advised to steer clear of this drug.

Celebrities Admit to Taking Viagra

 

As the years went on, celebrities slowly started to come out of the woodworks as the media found out they were taking the drug. Some openly admitted it while others were inadvertently found out to be taking the drug.

In 2006, American radio and political personality Rush Limbaugh was detained at an airport in Florida after a bottle of Viagra was discovered in his luggage carry on bag. What added urgency to the story was that the bottle had a prescription made out to someone else. Later, a lawyer representing Rush Limbaugh stated that Rush’s doctor used an alias in prescribing the medication in order to maintain Limbaugh’s privacy.

In 2010, famous actor Michael Douglas told AARP magazine in an interview that he took Viagra on a regular basis for erectile dysfunction after having issues being intimate with his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Douglas was apparently ecstatic about the drug and his personal success with Viagra. He said it transformed his relationship with his wife and improved his overall quality of life.

Viagra Found to Treat Hypertension

 

After enormous successes with the treatment of erectile dysfunction, Pfizer sought to extend the uses of the drug. In clinical trials done between 2004 to 2014, Viagra was shown to reduce the effects of pulmonary arterial hypertension, a high blood pressure that affects the lungs. This led to renewed successes of the drug and ensured Pfizer would receive an extension on their patent for Viagra.

Viagra inhibits an enzyme known as PDE5, which when overactive can constrict blood flow. This enzyme is present in the penis and thus makes the drug successful against erectile dysfunction. PDE5 was also found to be present in the lungs and parts of the heart. The human trials proved Viagra to be successful in combating pulmonary arterial hypertension as well as those suffering from a condition called left ventricular hypertrophy. Hypertrophy of the left ventricle causes the heart muscle to abnormally enlarge and ultimately change shape – leading to permanent heart damage.

In 2011, a United States federal judge granted an extension to Pfizer on the patent for Viagra based on its new uses. This extension would ensure Pfizer would face no generic competition until 2019.

Viagra Now Prescribed for Women

 

Clinical trials have shown that women suffer loss of adequate blood flow to genitalia for the same reason men suffer from erectile dysfunction. This loss of blood flow for women results in decreased sensation during sexual activity and thus decreased quality of sexual activity. Viagra was shown to once again inhibit overactive PDE5 that causes the restricted blood flow and is now prescribed for women.

Viagra’s next step in the process is to perform large control studies of the effects of Viagra on women suffering from high blood pressure and heart conditions like left ventricular hypertrophy. The original 2004 to 2014 studies that were conducted for these types of disorders were only conducted on men.