Viagra: Medical Drug for Other Reasons - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/3/04

Viagra: Medical Drug for Other Reasons

Instead of just a lifestyle drug, Viagra may soon be considered life-saving as well. Men have used Viagra for some time to enhance their romance, but now Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, says it is hopeful the drug can also treat a rare, potentially fatal disease.

Since the drug is designed to increase blood flow throughout the body, researchers have found that could be life-saving to people with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension or PAH. It mostly strikes women in the prime of their lives, elevating the blood pressure in the artery between the heart and lungs. It's often fatal within three years of the onset of symptoms, which can include fainting, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

"I think it works. I think it would be beneficial for us to have this as one of the drugs in our therapeutic armamentarium to treat patients with," says Dr. Robyn Barst, Columbia University Medical Center.

Actually, there is already a pill for PAH on the market called Tracleer, but it can have serious side effects. Researchers at Columbia are convinced that Viagra and similar drugs for impotence like Cialis could offer a safe alternative in treating PAH.

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