Viagra Lawsuit

Viagra is a household name for a reason; Since 1998, it has helped millions of men with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) regain normal sex lives. However, according to a June 2014 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, that help comes with an increased risk of Melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.

What is Viagra?

Viagra is the name brand of Sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitor, manufactured by Pfizer. It is used in the treatment of Erectile Dysfunction or ED although its original purpose was to treat angina (chest pain) as well as pulmonary arterial hypertension. It works by relaxing muscles, allowing a more natural blood flow into the penis in order to achieve and maintain an erection. Viagra was approved by the FDA in 1998 and prescriptions still number in the millions each year.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It is characterized by an unusual growth of a mole or irregular discoloration of the skin. This happens when the pigment producing cells known as melanocytes become cancerous. The primary cause of melanoma is UV sunlight.

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What are the symptoms of Melanoma?

Melanoma usually presents itself in the form of an irregular mole. A “regular” or “normal” mole is usually an evenly colored brown or tan color with a diameter of no more than 6mm (½”). Most moles are present from birth and will remain the same size and shape for the majority of your life. This is important to note because if you notice any mole changing in size, shape or coloration, that mole has become “irregular”. This is the main warning sign, or symptom, of melanoma. Doctors recommended that you regularly examine your moles using the “ABCDE” checklist outlined below.

How do I know if I have Melanoma?

Only a trained healthcare professional can properly diagnose Melanoma. However physicians recommend the “ABCDE” checklist of symptoms to determine if a doctor’s visit is necessary:

  • Asymmetry
  • Borders (irregular with edges and corners)
  • Color (variegated)
  • Diameter (greater than 6 mm (0.24 in), about the size of a pencil eraser)
  • Evolving over time

If you have any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you see your doctor immediately.

What is the link between Viagra and Melanoma?

Viagra Package Box

Viagra pills are linked to Melanoma / Skin Cancer

In a recent Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), the researchers found that men prescribed to Viagra were 84% more likely to develop Melanoma. This study was conducted with a group of 14,912 randomly selected male participants who were then screened for preexisting skin cancers. Of those men, a total of 2,104 showed signs of skin cancer at the end of the study. This lead HPFS to conclude: “Sildenafil use was significantly associated with an increased risk of subsequent melanoma”. Doctors theorize that Viagra (Sildenafil) affects cell pathways that allow cancer to spread to other parts of the body. To date Viagra is still being prescribed to millions of men each year.

Does Viagra have side effects?

The use of Viagra comes with risks. Below is a list of side effects associated with the use of Viagra:

Common Side Effects

  • Dyspepsia (vague discomfort in the upper abdomen)
  • Visual disturbance (blurred vision, spots)
  • Flushing of the face and skin
  • Nasal congestion
  • Tingling, pins and needles sensation
  • Headache
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Muscle or back pain
  • Upset stomach
  • Painful urination

Serious Side Effects

  • Ringing in the ears or hearing loss
  • Dizziness (feel like you might pass out)
  • Swelling in the hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • heart attack symptoms–chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;
  • vision changes or sudden vision loss; or
  • erection is painful or lasts longer than 4 hours (prolonged erection can damage the penis).
  • Skin Cancer / Melanoma

Has action been taken against Viagra / Pfizer?

San Francisco’s CBS affiliate, 5KPIX reports that over 200 men have filed suit against Viagra’s manufacturer, Pfizer, stating the drug increased their risk of developing Melanoma. The suits claim drug giant Pfizer Inc., was negligent and had failed to warn them of Viagra’s dangers. Dr. Wen-Qing Li, one of the main authors of the study was quoted,

“[we] have done comprehensive analysis examining the associations between Viagra use and risk of melanoma and found a positive association.”

This was met with a response from a Pfizer spokesperson stating, “…Viagra has been prescribed to millions of men worldwide since it was first approved by regulators 18 years ago, and this real world experience supports its favorable benefit-risk profile. Pfizer stands behind this medicine and will vigorously defend these lawsuits.”

Viagra / Pfizer in summary:

Viagra (Sildenafil), commonly known as “the little blue pill”, has been prescribed to over 68 million men since being approved by the FDA in 1998. In 2015 alone, Viagra generated over $1.7 Billion in revenue for Pfizer Inc., the drug’s manufacturer. In 2014 a study was published by Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), showing an 84% increase in risk for developing the skin cancer known as Melanoma while taking Viagra. Pfizer has since denied responsibility, prompting hundreds of men to file suit against the drug giant. At the time the article was published Viagra was still being prescribed to millions of men in the United States of America.

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