Who could have guessed that a former presidential candidate would end up pitching an impotence cure on national television? Bob’s big boy wasn’t the only one that needed a boost. Shortly after Viagra was introduced on March 27, 1998, doctors were writing more than 100,000 prescriptions for it each week at a cost of up to $10 per pill. By June, 2 million prescriptions had been issued in the United States, while Asians and Europeans were paying hundreds of dollars for questionable goods on the international black market (4 Mens Health, 2007).
Viagra’s big bang actually started with a humble whimper. The little blue pill, also known as sildenafil citrate, was first tried, unsuccessfully, as a treatment for angina or chest pain. Although it didn’t eliminate chest pain, its users were reluctant to stop taking it. Doctors quickly discovered why; the drug enhances the effects of chemicals that the body normally releases during sexual arousal, thereby allowing an increase of blood flow into the penis. It also blocks the natural enzyme that counteracts those chemicals, making it last up to 4 hours.
During clinical trials, Viagra had a success rate of 70 to 90 percent, compared to 10 to 30 percent for a placebo. Reported side effects included headaches, flushing, indigestion and a visual impairment, where everything seems tinted a murky pale blue. Not surprisingly, only 2.5 percent of the trial subjects found these reactions objectionable enough to discontinue treatment. More serious reactions have come to light since then, but for some men, Viagra’s benefit is apparently worth any risk (Softpedia, 2007).
Aside from the benefits effects on the sex life, Viagra is also good for people with high blood pressure. Viagra gives a strengthened heart beat by chemically inducing stress, according to study senior author and cardiologist David Kass, MD, a professor at the...