Viagra link to 17 deaths in past year

DOCTORS HAVE recorded 17 deaths in Britain since last July linked with Viagra, the pill for impotence that is still officially banned on the NHS.

Official figures collected by the Medicines Control Agency show 182 "adverse reactions", ranging from rashes to heart attacks, were linked with the drug in the 10 months to the end of April.

There were 32 reports of heart disorders of which 13 were fatal. However, the figures do not reveal whether the men involved had pre-existing heart disease or were taking other drugs for a heart problem. The remaining four deaths included two strokes, a suicide and one described as a "collapse".

The side-effects recorded include four cases of priapism, a persistent and painful erection. Doctors warned that this could be a risk with the introduction of Viagra to the club scene as a recreational drug. Release, the drugs charity, said Viagra had found a place "on the fetish side of club culture".

The figures highlight the risk of taking the drug without medical supervision. In men with an existing heart condition or who are taking nitrate drugs for heart disease, Viagra can be dangerous. However, because it is still not officially available on the NHS, some people are obtaining it illegally over the Internet and from mail order addresses in the UK. One organisation called Moneybox isselling eight pills for pounds 240 or pounds 30 a pill, although the price charged by Pfizer, the manufacturer, is less than pounds 5 a pill.

Viagra was licensed in September but a Department of Health circular advised doctors not to prescribe it, other than in "exceptional circumstan- ces", until guidelines had been agreed. Ministers announced the guidelines earlier this month, which will restrict NHS prescribing to men with a narrow range of medical conditions, amounting to 17 per cent of the 2.5 million estimated to suffer from impotence. Other men will have to pay for the drug privately but will be able to obtain it from their GP.

The new guidelines, which require parliamentary approval, are not due to take effect until July and the official blanket restriction on NHS prescribing is still in force. The British Medical Association fears that the 10-month ban has driven patients to get the drug from alternate sources.

Dr David Delvin, director of the Medical Information Service in Cambridge, who has treated more than 100 private patients with Viagra, said it was a "very safe" drug provided patients were screened by a doctor first. "The number of adverse reactions has gone up as more people are taking it."

The figures are based on the "yellow card" reporting system under which doctors are encouraged to record any side- effect that might be linked with a drug.

The reports do not imply the drug caused the side-effect but they enable patterns to be picked up, which may indicate a problem.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' is based on historical events
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am interested in speaking to Data Migr...

Web Services Developer

£200 - £450 per day: Harrington Starr: Web Services Developer Web Services, WP...

Project Manager - (Housing Association, Prince 2) - Watford

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Project Manager - (Housin...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants For Multiple UK Offices

£18000 - £25000 per annum + DOE, OTE £40000: SThree: LONDON - BRISTOL - DUBLIN...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil