Seniors Stampede For Viagra


Ike Hildebrand is in his 70s and still living an active life. Hildebrand has been dealing with impotence since he had prostate cancer two years ago. But Ike and his wife, Barb, weren't satisfied giving up sex, even in their sunset years.

"It bugs me that people think life stops at 50 or 60," Barb Hildebrand said.

So, like the hundreds of thousands of other men and some women who've jumped on the Viagra bandwagon, Ike got a prescription for the new drug.

"It makes me happy, and I'm sure it makes Barb happy too, so what else can I say? We're back doing what we use to do and it's great! Ike said.

Of the estimated thirty million men dealing with some form of impotency, about half are over 65.

Dr. Thomas Newman, an urologist in Tucson, Ariz., anticipated the senior stampede to Viagra.

"We preprinted prescriptions. This is part of the sexual revolution of our senior citizens," Dr. Newman said.

While Viagra can work wonders for seniors who have been impotent for years, it's not the fountain of youth. A 70-year-old man will only be restored the sexual health of a 70-year-old man.

"I'm old enough, been around long enough to know that these drugs don't work for everybody," said Bill Yochum.

But that hasn't stopped Yochum from trying. Pfizer, the maker of Viagra admits in their tests only seven out of ten men were helped. Still, Dr. Newman says Viagra's popularity is exploding with his older patients -so much so, that it's no longer taboo to talk about impotency, even on television.

But how will all these seniors, many on fixed incomes, pay for these renewed sexual experiences? Will an HMO pay, or, for poorer seniors, will taxpayer-funded Medicaid pick up the tab?

Ike and Barb said that the drug has helped them so much, they'll continue to pay for Viagra themselves.

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