Sex wonder-drug may make the earth move for women too

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The Independent Online
SCIENTISTS are experimenting on British women to see if the erection- enhancing Viagra pill, which is claimed to boost men's sexual pleasure, can improve female satisfaction too.

A team of volunteers has taken part in secret tests to establish the pill's impact on female sexual sensitivity. The small clinical trial was organised by the manufacturer, Pfizer, to investigate "the commercial implications". Results have yet to be analysed, but if successful the treatment will revolutionise levels of sexual satisfaction for women as it has for men.

Viagra, which enhances and maintains erections in men, is currently breaking all prescription sales records in the US, where it won a retail licence last month. More than 36,000 prescriptions were written during the drug's first week on the shelves, with converts boasting of an entirely new lease on life.

Early feedback from patients has suggested that women's enthusiasm for Viagra easily equals men's, but this was thought to be due to the indirect bonus of prolonged sexual intercourse rather than because women were simply popping the pills themselves.

A spokesman at Pfizer's UK headquarters in Sandwich, Kent, said: "This trial was conducted with a handful of volunteers selected by the clinical team, in tandem with a small trial in America, to answer the question: 'Could it work on women?'"

American scientists working in the field have predicted that the genital engorging for which Viagra is already prized would probably have a similarly enhancing effect on the female sexual experience. They point out that Viagra's remedial impact on impotent men was only discovered by chance.

"Evidently we are interested. That is why we are doing studies on a look- see basis," said Pfizer. "A drug company will get indications of effects like this and check out the commercial implications."

Viagra, known chemically as sildenafil, was initially tested as a treatment for angina in the hope that it would increase blood flow to the heart. Trials conducted on healthy students quickly established that the heart was not the only organ to receive a boost.

So far the tell-tale signs of Viagra use - apart from those only encountered at close quarters - are a red face and complaints of blue-tinted vision, or headaches. While women's reaction to the drug remains clinically unproven, it is possible that the phrase: "I have a headache tonight" already has a different meaning in parts of Kent.

Learning to talk dirty, page 17

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