Live

Watch CBSN Live

Viagra: Origins & Answers


Where did Viagra come from?color>
Like so many scientific breakthroughs, Viagra was the result of a happy accident. Pfizer Corp. scientists engaged in hypertension research discovered that sildenafil citrate did not, as they hoped, reduce blood pressure. But it did produce erections in some 80 percent of the trials' 4,000 male subjects.

Following its discovery, the drug was fast-tracked through the approval process by the Food and Drug Administration, which contributed to this Q&A page.

What is Viagra used for?color>
Viagra is used to treat impotence in men. It increases the body's ability to achieve and maintain an erection during sexual stimulation. Viagra does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.

Who should not take Viagra?color>
Men who are currently using medicines that contain nitrates such as nitroglycerin should not use Viagra because, taken together, they can lower the blood pressure too much. Viagra should not be used by women. While some women have reported favorable results from using Viagra, Pfizer Inc. has made no claims about the drug's effects in females. The company is in the early stages of clinical testing on females, starting with a test group of 500 women at its UK-based facilities.

General precautions:color>
If you're considering taking Viagra, first have your doctor take a complete medical history and do an examination to determine the cause of impotence. There are also several medications that are known to interact with Viagra, so be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, including non-prescription drugs. Viagra has not been studied with other treatments for impotence, so use of it in combination with other treatments is not recommended.

What are some possible side effects?color>
Viagra is generally well tolerated. If any side effects are experienced, they are usually mild and temporary. The following is a listing of the most common side effects, but it is by no means complete. Be sure to consult with your health care provider.

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Upset stomach &/or diarrhea
  • Stuffy nose
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Visual changes such as mild and temporary changes in blue/green colors or increased sensitivity to light.

    How should Viagra be taken?color>
    Your doctor may prescribe Viagra as one tablet once a day, about one hour before sexual activity. However, Viagra may be taken anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours before sexual activity. As in all things medical, consulting with your physician is the best advice.


    Viva Viagra || Viagra: Origins & Answers
    Groucho And The Age Of Viagra

    Written by Sean Wolfe. Graphics by Frederick La Senna

  • View CBS News In