Viagra Review – The Most Popular ED Drug

The History of Sildenafil

Sildenafil’s history began in 1989 when its blood vessel-relaxing properties were investigated for treating patients suffering from high blood pressure and angina (the name for chest pains endured by heart disease patients).

To understand how it became the wonder drug for providing men with better erections worldwide, we have to start from the beginning – a relatively short time ago. Follow the history of Sildenafil to find out how Viagra’s ‘little blue pill’ became one of the best-known drugs globally from its launch.

Sildenafil Citrate

In 1989, two British scientists working for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Albert Wood, and Peter Dunn, created the drug Sildenafil Citrate with the hope that it could ease the pain of angina and decrease blood pressure in patients. A few years later, in 1991, Dr. Nicolas Terrett became involved with the development of the drug, at this point still only being researched as a heart medication.

Pfizer conducted early trials of Sildenafil Citrate throughout the early 1990s, but they concluded that it had little promise of being a good treatment for heart disease. Despite this, the subjects in the trial reported a positive side effect: they found they had increased and improved erections after taking the drug.

Coincidentally, around the same time, scientists were discovering more about how men achieve erections and that blood flow was significantly involved in the process. For these reasons, the drug began new clinical trials for erectile dysfunction after it failed to prove effective in treating angina.

Viagra


Pfizer patented Sildenafil under the name ‘Viagra’ in 1996 and in March 1998. The Food and Drug Administration in the USA approved the drug for treating erectile dysfunction. It didn’t take long for word to spread – it’s reported that in the first few weeks of availability, pharmacies in the US dispensed over 40,000 prescriptions for the drug.

Just a couple of months later, in May 1998, Viagra made the cover of TIME magazine under the headline ‘The Potency Pill.’ The story proved controversial. It included a quote from Bob Guccione, the owner of the adult magazine Penthouse, hailing the pill for freeing the American male’s libido from the emasculation of feminists. Of course, this provoked a feminist backlash.

Viagra In Popular Culture


 
After the TIME cover story, the infamous blue pill gained plenty of media coverage. An episode of the Larry King Live show on CNN featured Bob Dole, a former presidential nominee, who called Viagra ‘a great drug’ after saying he took part in its clinical trials. Pfizer later hired Dole for their TV campaign aimed at increasing awareness of erectile dysfunction.

American magazine Newsweek covered Viagra’s rise to fame in June 1998, claiming it as the ‘hottest’ new drug in world history. At that time, the drug was only legal in the USA, Mexico, Morocco, and Brazil. However, there was a booming black-market supply of the medication in other countries.

The pill became a frequent feature of TV shows – factual and fictional. A notable appearance came from an episode of Sex and the City, in which the character Samantha dates a man who uses Viagra and even takes a pill herself. (There’s no evidence to suggest that Viagra works on women.)

Death Claims

 
It wasn’t all good news. In 2000 at the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Sanjay Kaul presented reports of 522 deaths of patients who had died while using Viagra during the first year of its availability. He reported that ‘cardiovascular events’ implicated in the deaths were associated with the drug.

Viagra Competitors


 
Two competitors for Viagra were launched in 2003 – though Viagra still maintains its crown as the world’s most popular erectile dysfunction drug. First, Bayer’s vardenafil hydrochloride treatment, branded Levitra, launched in August, while Lilly USA’s Cialis drug was made available in November. Both drugs are used to treat ED, and Levitra proved a safer alternative for patients with heart disease.

Revatio

Revatio, the brand name of Sildenafil for treating pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), was approved by the FDA in 2005. It was released by Pfizer, the same pharmaceutical company that produced Viagra.

Popularity Today
 

Viagra’s popularity certainly still endures today. Its annual sales reportedly peaked in 2008 at $1.934billion. In 2021 there was a reported spike in the use of Viagra, rising approximately by a quarter over 12 months. The exact cause was never determined, but it is thought to be propelled by Sildenafil’s sudden drop in price in 2019.
The price decrease was caused by the expiry of the European patent of Viagra, enabling other drug companies to release new, cheaper versions of Sildenafil.

Counterfeit Drug Warnings


 Viagra is one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world – meaning that there are vast quantities of fake pills in circulation on the black market. A Pfizer study showed that approximately 80% of websites claiming to sell the drug were selling fakes.

For this reason, customers should use extreme caution when buying the drug online. Pfizer set up its online dispenser on its website to fight the toxic fakes, sometimes found to include a dangerous cocktail of chemicals including rat poison, amphetamines, and blue printer ink.

Taking Sildenafil


 
Sildenafil is widely available worldwide, either from a doctor or online. Patients taking drugs bought online should always be highly vigilant about the possibility of fake medications.

A doctor will gladly prescribe Sildenafil for either ED or PAH ailments with a recommended dose tailored to each patient. That’s why it’s imperative to get a doctor’s advice before taking the medication.

If you would like to try Sildenafil, do your research for reputable online pharmacies or visit your doctor. Always seek medical advice if you suffer side effects after taking any drug.

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