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 "Misusing Viagra"

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Misusing Viagra

There have been at least 130 deaths linked to Viagra use by heart patients. While a report made to the American Urological Association defines this number as statistically insignificant, the fda continues to monitor the drug closely.

In late 1998, the agency updated Viagra’s labeling to reflect its concerns: the risk of interactions with certain drugs and pre-existing conditions, the possibility of addiction, increased recreational sex and even a potential increase in unsafe sex practices.

All the warning labels in the world can’t control a man in search of timber. A male in his 30s who bought Viagra on the Malaysian black market had an erection for three days, according to Singapore’s South China Morning Times. Doctors ended up using hollow needles to drain blood from his penis to make it go down, and the unidentified man is now permanently impotent. While Lamm cannot confirm such an extreme case history, he has heard some strange stories. “Misuse is a certainty with any new drug,” he says. “The trouble comes when men are taking these pills thinking they will become sexual supermen.”

Men such as Marc, a 27-year-old construction worker who has used Viagra recreationally, and thought he was paying for superior sex. “Well,” he confesses, “let’s just say that Mr. Johnson stood at attention longer, but he didn’t salute any better. I thought Viagra would make me a love machine, but I didn’t feel any different and I didn’t perform any different, either.” “Viagra doesn’t just cure penile dysfunction by enhancing blood flow; it improves the condition by curing a man who may lack sexual confidence due to temporary dysfunction,” says Lamm, who nonetheless sees no danger of dependency for such users. “Men who take it have more sexual success, and therefore need it less and less. The result is the opposite of addiction.”

As prescribed, Viagra should be taken only once a day. The most effective dose is generally 50 milligrams one hour before desired liftoff, though Pfizer recommends starting with 25 mg, especially for patients with certain health complications. According to the AUA, the most popular dose is 100 mg, which is when side effects are most likely to occur.

Lamm also predicts that Viagra will ultimately flop on the club circuit. “These drugs will not make you a sexual athlete,” he says. “If you’re healthy and you take Viagra, it may facilitate your weak erection or shorten the refractory period between erections. So big deal -- your sensitivity isn’t increased at all. There’s no discernible magic, no high.

“Word is slowly leaking out,” Lamm concludes, “that for those who have erectile dysfunction, Viagra is a wonder drug. But for the rest of us, there’s absolutely no reason to use it.”

Drew Voight

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