Before Viagra, men treated erectile dysfunction with a myriad of homeopathic remedies that oftentimes didn’t work.

Viagra was developed and approved for use on March 27, 1998, and quickly became a phenomenon. Sildenafil is the chemical name for the medication and is an artificial compound that was originally studied to treat hypertension.

The Beginnings

At first, the drug Pfizer was developing was being tested to treat high blood pressure, and the trials using Sildenafil Citrate for this condition were not going well. It was during one of these trials that one of the men said he noticed more erections during the night than was normal. Instead of this being seen as a side effect, the drug company switched gears and began studying the compound as a treatment for impotence.

The study basically used soft pornography in order to stimulate the men in the study. The men were then fitted with a Rigiscan and then given the drug. At the end of the week trial period, the men didn’t want to give the drug back because it worked so well.

At this point Viagra began winding its way through the process of approval. In the United States, it was approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in a two-year time span, which is incredibly quick by FDA standards. At one point the drug became such a commodity around the world that the CIA used it in Afghanistan in an effort to influence tribal elders.

FDA Approval

At the time of Viagra’s approval, it had the fastest sales growth following a launch of any prescription. At the end of 2008 sales were close to two billion. Pfizer utilized a marketing strategy that promoted Viagra and erectile dysfunction awareness direct to the consumers. This prompted men to seek advice from and obtain prescriptions from doctors. Since the drugs approval the stigma surrounding ED has declined, and men have become much more comfortable talking to doctors about the problem.

In the first ten years after approval, almost thirty million men worldwide had been prescribed Viagra.

Inventors and the Invention

The names of the original inventors of Viagra made by Pfizer are secrets that all members of the company have to maintain. The inventors were chemists working at Pfizer’s Sandwich, Kent, UK facility. Two names did appear on the patent for the drug, those of Peter Dunn and Albert Wood; they are responsible for the mass production of the product. It has become known that Dr. Nicholas Terret and team were the creators of the actual drug.

As happens all throughout the pharmaceutical industry, Pfizer does not recognize or reward any individual scientist as the inventor. The company has stated that it was a group effort, with many inventors and scientists contributing to the entire process.

Marketing

Probing into the public’s consciousness and awareness about ED, Pfizer launched an unprecedented marketing campaign. Even presidential candidates were tapped for appearances in television commercials for the product. This direct to consumer marketing was almost unheard of before the advent of Viagra.

This was also the first time a drug was offered over the internet. Now it was possible to be able to have an online consultation to obtain a prescription and this ushered in a new era of buying medication for consumers.

Impact of Erectile Dysfunction

ED is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection for sexual function. This can in turn lead to a negative impact on self-esteem, performance anxiety, and clinical depression. In a recent survey, sixty two percent of men had reported a decline in self-esteem, while twenty nine percent said it created a negative effect on relationships, and twenty one percent said that relationships had ended due to erectile dysfunction.

It is estimated that over thirty million men in the United States alone have erectile dysfunction. The ushering in of Viagra has also led to many competitors entering the market. The drug companies are now looking to not just target older men, but also men in the age range of thirty to forty as well. To date over twenty million American men have tried the drug, and as the baby boomer population ages that number is likely to increase.

Causes of Erectile Dysfunction

While medications like Viagra temporarily treat symptoms of ED, they do not treat the condition itself.

There are a number of factors to consider when looking at the cause of ED. Some of these include: high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, chronic alcohol or drug abuse, high cholesterol, injuries, and certain medications. Any condition that can restrict blood flow to the veins, like the normal aging process or smoking, can lead to erectile dysfunction. Depression is also a key contributing factor to the condition.

The medications that can cause ED are as follows: blood pressure drugs, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antidepressants, BPH drugs, and anti-retroviral medications. With the advent of Viagra, the ‘little blue pill’ can help to counteract the effects of these and other drugs that lead to erectile dysfunction.

Insurance Companies

Many insurance companies will not pay for the use of Viagra. This could be one of the reasons why many consumers turn to the internet for purchase of the product. Just be aware of counterfeit products in this arena.

To help combat counterfeit products, Pfizer offers online Viagra prescription and home delivery through pharmacies that are licensed.

Is Viagra for Women?

Women also experience some form of sexual dysfunction. Some studies have suggested that Viagra could increase blood flow to the genitals and boost arousal in women. However, most of these studies have shown very little beneficial effect of the drug.

Little Known Fact about Viagra

Below are some interesting facts that have been gleaned along the way about the uses of Viagra:

  • A significant property of the medication is said to help widen the blood vessels in the lungs, therefore lowering blood pressure and helping the underdeveloped lungs of infants.
  • Research has found that one milligram tablets of Viagra dissolved in a vase of water can double the shelf life of flowers.
  • It’s possible that Viagra can help with jetlag. This research is in its infancy and has only been tested on hamsters.
  • Research is beginning to suggest that Viagra may enhance athletic performance. This has mainly been studied in cyclists.