Viagra to Help Save Children? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/12/02

Viagra to Help Save Children?

Every year, 28,000 babies are born with a condition called Pulmonary Hypertension, or high blood pressure in the lungs. It means their blood vessels stiffen. That's when that tiny blue pill, Viagra, appears to help babies and more.

"We have used it in children as young as one to two weeks, and as old as 12 years. Viagra works by relaxing these blood vessels and lowering the blood pressure not only in parts of the body but especially in the lungs, allowing our babies to come off the breathing machine and get better," says Dr. Marshall Lewis, pediatric cardiologist.

When used in babies, Viagra is crushed, and a small dose is given intravenously. This is a new use of Viagra that is not part of a study. Instead it is what's called off-label use when a drug is prescribed for a condition other than what it is FDA approved to treat. So far, no adverse side effects have been reported in the children.

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