16 March 2000

The love wonder drug or a potential killer?

by Kate Melville

A new study by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center highlights a high number of deaths and serious cardiovascular events after people took the 'love drug', Viagra. Commonly prescribed as a therapy for erectile dysfunction in men, these tests point out that users may be getting more than they bargained for.

The study was based on an analysis of 1,473 cases of major adverse events where 522 people died, most due to cardiovascular causes.

Most fatalities were associated with the standard dose of Viagra (70% were associated with the 50 mg dose), were due to cardiovascular causes and the majority occurred in patients who were less than 65 with no reported cardiac risk factors.

Frighteningly, the study showed a much higher risk profile for patients who combined use of nitrates and Viagra. In the sample of the 90 men who were taking nitrates and taking Viagra, 68% died and 88% had myocardial infarction. Even so, the study showed that most deaths (88%) occurred in patients not taking nitrates.

How long before this comes up in court, "Really your honor we just wanted to have great sex and I thought Viagra might help; and of course I had no idea he was worth $100 and had left it all to me!"