Viagra Abuse

Viagra Abuse

Viagra Abuse

Viagra Abuse When Pfizer drug company introduced Viagra in 1998, doctors could not prescribe it fast enough. Some told the New York Times that their writers’ cramp had become so painful from writing out Viagra prescriptions that they had gone to using stamps on the signature lines. Viagra changed how millions of people viewed male sexual problems and uncovered a huge latent demand for remedies. In an era when no one had ever talked about impotence before, now we were all watching a former Presidential candidate promoting Viagra on TV. Within the first quarter of introducing Viagra, Pfizer’s earnings went from $467 million to $628 million, and within the first year, its profits went up by 38%. By 2008, Viagra’s annual sales stood at $1.934 million.

Today annual sales of Viagra and its competitors amount to over $5 billion, and some 20 million men are using the drugs worldwide. With so many men diagnosed with problems linked to erectile dysfunction such as depression, obesity, and diabetes, there is no sign that demand for Viagra will slow down anytime soon.

However, the story of this miracle drug has a darker side. Abuse of erectile dysfunction drugs is widespread even though the drugs are not without risks – men who have undiagnosed heart conditions have suffered fatal heart attacks and strokes after using them without a doctor’s prescription. Viagra is the most counterfeited drug in the world, and many of the fake pills have harmful ingredients. Abuse of Viagra is linked to an increase of sexually-transmitted diseases, including AIDS, in the gay population, and the drug has also become an integral part of certain lifestyles that center around casual sex and illegal drugs like ecstasy, heroin and methamphetamine.

What Is Viagra?

Viagra is the trademarked name of a drug from Pfizer Drug Company that is prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction. Viagra enables men to sustain erections so that they can have sexual intercourse when they are sexually aroused. Viagra does not cause sexual arousal or erections, and therefore is considered a treatment, but not a cure for erectile dysfunction.

Viagra’s active ingredient is sildenafil citrate, a white crystalline powder. The chemical name for sildenafil citrate is 1-[[3-(6,7-dihydro-1-methyl-7-oxo-3-propyl-1H pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidin-5-yl)-4-ethoxyphenyl]sulfonyl]-4-methylpiperazine citrate.

Sildenafil citrate inhibits an enzyme called cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) that helps to regulate blood flow to certain parts of the body. Sildenafil also reduces cGMP in plants and can be used to double the life of cut flowers.

Levitra, Staxyn and Cialis are other brand-name drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. The main ingredient in Levitra and Staxyn is vardenafil; and in Cialis, it is tadalafil. Sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil all work by increasing nitric oxide and are chemically related but not the same.

Viagra is widely abused as a recreational drug, but is not classified by the United States federal government or in any state as an addictive substance. It is legally available by prescription only in the United States, although similar drugs have been available over-the-counter in Great Britain since 2007.

The patent on Viagra was supposed to expire in 2013, which meant that cheaper generic versions would become available; however, Pfizer was able to have its patent extended until 2020. Viagra costs about $10 a pill as a prescription, and up to $50 on illegal markets.

What Are the Medical Uses of Viagra?

Viagra is used to treat erectile dysfunction primarily in men. It comes in doses of 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg as small diamond-shaped blue pills marked Pfizer on one side and VGR on the other.

The effects of the drug usually begin within 30 to 60 minutes and last about four hours. The most common dose is 50mg once a day, but doctors usually start elderly men and men taking HIV drugs like protease inhibitors with 25mg. The dose can be increased as needed, but it is not supposed to be taken more than once a day. Eating a heavy high-fat meal while using Viagra can slow down its absorption and effectiveness. Some men have to use Viagra three or four times before it works for them.

In double-blind tests of over 3,000 men, subjects reported improvement about 66% of the time when they used Viagra, compared to 20% among those using placebos. Viagra helped treat erectile dysfunction whether it was caused by physical or psychological problems. As for women using Viagra, a 2008 study of 98 females who had decreased sexual drives as a result of taking anti-depressants found that 72% improved with Viagra compared to 27% on placebos.

Viagra is also used to treat a rare disease called pulmonary arterial hypertension. Viagra may have future uses to cure altitude sickness, especially among mountain climbers, and to counteract jet lag.

A 2009 study from the National Institutes of Health was stopped after subjects with sickle cell disease developed “serious medical problems” from taking Viagra to treat their pulmonary hypertension.

What Are the Side Effects of Viagra?

The most common side effects of Viagra are headache, flushing of the face, upset stomach, stuffy nose, memory problems, or back pain. Some men develop rashes, photosensitivity, migraines, insomnia, and other problems after using Viagra.

Certain side effects are so serious that you should stop taking Viagra and consult a doctor immediately if you experience them. The most common is a painful penis erection that can last four hours or more. Other serious side effects are sudden loss of vision or hearing, heart attack symptoms such as chest pain and pain that spreads to the arm or shoulder, swelling of the hands, ankles or feet, and shortness of breath.

What Drugs Interact With Viagra?

Viagra should never be combined with prescription or illicit drugs that contain nitrates. Prescription nitrates, including nitroglycerin and isosorbide, are often prescribed to men with heart problems, who sometimes take them before sexual intercourse to open their heart valves and increase stamina. Since sildenafil also increases blood pressure and blood flow, the combination can be fatal.

Ask your doctor about whether you should use Viagra if you are taking antidepressants, antibiotics, antifungal drugs, drugs for high blood pressure or heart conditions, Hepatitis C or HIV/AIDS medications, bosentan, cimetidine, isoniazid, imatinib, and conivaptan. Viagra interacts with 423 drugs and causes major events when combined with 34 drugs.

Who Should not Take Viagra?

Viagra may not be safe for men with heart problems; high or low blood pressure; blood cell disorders such as sickle cell anemia; physical deformities of the penis; stomach ulcers; bleeding problems; histories of stroke, liver or kidney disease; and/or eye problems.

What Are the Risks of Taking Viagra?

Certain serious health problems cause sexual dysfunction in men, including heart disease, diabetes, severe psychological problems, obesity, low testosterone levels, drug addiction, alcoholism, and being in poor physical shape. If a man uses Viagra and does not realize he is not healthy enough to have sex, he might experience a heart attack or some other life-threatening emergency, which is partly why Viagra is legally available only through doctors.

The rate of Viagra abuse is higher than average among people who use illegal drugs, and scientific studies indicate that this combination increases their risk for AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted diseases. As Dr. James Peloquen, a psychiatrist at Long Island College Hospital, said, “People do stupid things when they are high. If you go home with someone you should not, you could end up pregnant or with HIV and Hepatitis B.”

Some men have died by combining Viagra with “party poppers” (amyl nitrate). Party poppers usually come in little vials that make a popping sound when you take off their caps. The fumes from the vials are then inhaled, most often to enhance sexual experience.

What Is A Viagra Overdose?

Overdoses on Viagra, which can occur when you take more than 50mg, may cause serious medical consequences.

Symptoms can be nausea, chest pains that last anywhere between ten minutes to four hours, and an irregular heart rhythm that can produce lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. The most dramatic symptom is priapsm or a painful erection that can last for hours. Priapsm, named after the Greek god Priapus, can result in a loss of sexual function if left untreated. Doctors sometimes have to use shunts to treat the condition.

Tom Kaulitz, the lead guitarist of the alternative rock band Tokio Hotel, underwent such treatment when he overdosed on Viagra May 14, 2011.

What Is Viagra Abuse?

Viagra abuse occurs when someone uses it without a prescription. Geoff Cook, a spokesperson for Pfizer drugs, said, “Our position not to use Viagra for recreational purposes is well-known, but any pharmaceutical product can be abused.” Viagra is widely abused and widely available illegally.

Pfizer researchers found that 96% of the over 8,000 websites selling prescription drugs did not comply with customer’s privacy, the security of their identities, or the standard quality of the products. Over 80% of the ones claiming to sell Viagra were selling counterfeit pills, and some contained blue printer ink, methamphetamine, antibiotics, toxic fillers, too much or too little of the active ingredient (sildenafil), and/or active ingredients unrelated to sildenafil. Pfizer warns that any website selling “Viagra for women” or “fast-dissolving,” “extra-strength” or “soft tablet” Viagra is a fake.

The drug is particularly abused by people who use illegal drugs and/or who frequent clubs that feature Ecstasy and other club drugs. One study of 231 Viagra users done in 2003 found that 60% did not have erectile dysfunction, and of that group, 76% also were using marijuana, causing the researchers to conclude, “Illicit use of marijuana predicts recreational use of Viagra.” A five-year study that ended in 2005 found that abuse of Viagra in British nightclubs had been gradually increasing since the pill was introduced in 1999. Viagra is often sold in clubs and college campuses where men like to combine it with cocaine, methamphetamine, and/or Ecstasy. Many falsely believe that Viagra increases their libido and enables them to have sex for hours, but the truth is that Viagra has little effect among men without erectile dysfunction.

Many studies of Viagra abuse have been carried out among men who have sex with men, and these have found a link between using Viagra and contracting a sexually-transmitted disease. A mega-analysis of 14 studies concluded that men having sex with men who used Viagra were six times more likely to have unprotected sex. Fifty-four percent of this group of Viagra users mixed it with methamphetamine, ecstasy, and/or ketamine, and the majority had no prescription or medical need for Viagra. A study of 1263 gay men from the San Francisco Health Department found that those who combined crystal methamphetamine with Viagra were six times more likely to be infected with syphilis and twice as likely to have HIV.

Viagra is commonly abused among men taking drugs for depression or HIV or among those who are addicted to legal or illegal narcotics, because all these drugs can decrease the ability to have sex. Narcotic painkiller addiction is particularly widespread –the USA now consume 80% of the world’s supply or more than 110 tons a year.

Viagra is also abused by athletes who mistakenly believe that taking the drug builds endurance and delivers oxygen more efficiently to the body. Preliminary research by the World Anti-Doping Agency at Marywood University has found no benefit from Viagra to athletes; however, if new research shows any benefit, Viagra will probably be banned from professional sports. Roger Clemens, Brandon Marshall and other professional athletes have reported publicly on the number of professional athletes taking “Vitamin V” before games.

Do People Require Treatment for Viagra Abuse?

Viagra is not considered physically addictive in the sense you will not go through a withdrawal syndrome when you stop using it. People do not enter residential treatment centers or individual psychotherapy because they abuse this drug. However, abusing Viagra is often a symptom of a lifestyle that includes drug and alcohol abuse and/or unhealthy relationships. People do enter psychotherapy or residential treatment centers to help them change a lifestyle they believe is self-destructive.

Some researchers have concluded that the Internet is partly responsible for accelerating Viagra abuse and promoting lifestyles of risky sexual behaviors in several new ways. First, thousands of illegal pharmacies are spamming email boxes and sexually-oriented websites with advertisements for Viagra, making the drug widely available without prescription. The Internet also enables people to “hook up” relatively anonymously through websites designed for those interested only in low-commitment, recreational sex. As sex becomes more casual and oriented toward being the ultimate physical experience, people into this lifestyle are more likely to use Viagra and drugs like methamphetamine and ecstasy to enhance their physical sensations.

Viagra abuse is linked to drug addiction. If you are addicted to drugs – whether legal or illegal – this may be your moment to examine your life and decide if it’s your time to seek professional treatment.

Viagra abuse is also linked to sexual addiction. Sexual addiction occurs when a person’s sexual behavior is no longer within the boundaries of social norms so that the person cannot develop healthy relationships, and so that the sexual behavior interferes with the person’s functioning at home or at work. Self-help groups such as Sex Addicts Anonymous have been available since the mid-1970s, and many residential treatment centers for substance abuse addictions have been offering treatment programs for sexual addictions for years. Some of the celebrities who have talked openly about seeking treatment for sexual addictions are Tiger Woods, David Duchovney, Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Jesse James, Russell Brand, and Eric Benet.

If you choose to enter treatment for sexual addiction, you will be undergoing an intensive program of individual psychotherapy and group therapy designed to help you understand why you lack control in this area of your life and how to develop healthier relationships. If you choose to stay in treatment for a month or more, you can come to a deeper understanding of yourself and what you need to do to change your life. You are not alone. Many many people have been in similar situations and found their way out to something better.

Signs You May Be A Sexual Addict

If you can answer yes to a majority of these questions, it may be time for you to seek help from a mental health professional or an addiction specialist at a residential treatment center.

  • Are you uncomfortable or do you feel ashamed or guilty about your sexual behavior?
  • Do you think you may not be normal when it comes to sexual behavior?
  • Do you think your sexual behavior is out of your control?
  • Do you use the Internet to “hookup” with strangers sexually?
  • Do your family members or friends express concern or criticism about your sexual behaviors?
  • Do you think you need professional help for your sexual behaviors?
  • Do you average more than one partner in a week?
  • Have you engaged in unprotected sex and then later regretted it? Do you do this on a regular basis?
  • Are you putting yourself in legal danger because of your sexual behavior? Do you buy Viagra without a prescription? Have you been arrested for lewd behavior?
  • Do you have difficulty relating to people of your sexual preference in a non-sexual way?
  • Do you think your sexual behavior may be hurting yourself or others?
  • Do you use pornography more than you want to?
  • Have you ever taken money or gifts in exchange for sex?
  • Were you sexually molested as a child, but yet you have never addressed the problems that caused you?
  • Does your abuse of Viagra include abuse of other drugs or alcohol?

Sources:

Conway, Chris. “Recalling the Madness,” The New York Times, March 30, 2008.

Ibid.

Pfizer Annual Report, 2008, see http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/78003/000119312511048877/dex13.htm

Wilson, Duff. “As Generics Near, Makers Tweak Erectile Drugs,” The New York Times, April 13, 2011.

Toscano, Paul.  “Dangers of Counterfeit Prescription Drugs,” USA Today and MNBC News, October 7, 2011.

Tuller, David. “Experts Fear a Risky Recipe: Viagra, Drugs and H.I.V.,” The New York Times, October 16, 2001.

Peterson, Karen.”Young men add Viagra to their drug arsenal,” USA Today, March 21, 2003.

“Viagra,” Official Website from Pfizer Drugs, see http://www.viagra.com/

“Viagra, (sildenafil citrate),” Drug Description, The RX List, see http://www.rxlist.com/viagra-drug.htm

“Viagra,” Official Website from Pfizer Drugs, see http://www.viagra.com/

Siegel-Itzkovich Judy (July 1999). “In brief: Viagra makes flowers stand up straight” British Medical Journal, July 31, 1999(7205): 274.

“Viagra And Other Erectile Dysfunction Medications,” the Mayo Clinic Staff, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/MC00029

“Controlled Substances Schedules,” The United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, see http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/index.html

“Viagra Patent Expiration Extended to 2020,” AccessRX, see http://www.accessrx.com/research/viagra-patent-expires/

“Viagra,” Official Website from Pfizer Drugs, see http://www.viagra.com/

Ibid.

Ibid.

“Viagra,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs. com, see http://www.drugs.com/pro/viagra.html

Parker-Pope, Tara. “Viagra and Women,” The New York Times, July 23, 2008.

Ibid.

“Viagra,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs. com, see http://www.drugs.com/pro/viagra.html

Brownstein, Joseph. “Perhaps Viagra Can Soften Jet Lag’s Impact,” ABC News, May 21, 2007.

“Viagra Trial Is Halted,” The New York Times, July 29, 2009.

“Viagra,” Official Website from Pfizer Drugs, see http://www.viagra.com/

“Viagra,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs. com, see http://www.drugs.com/pro/viagra.html

Ibid.

“Nitrates for Coronary Heart Disease,” The Web MD, see http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/nitrates-for-coronary-artery-disease

Fuminobu Ishikura, MD; Shintaro Beppu, MD; Toshiaki Hamada, BS; Bijoy K. Khandheria, MD; James B. Seward, MD; Ajay Nehra, MD. “Effects of Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) Combined With Nitrate on the Heart,” Circulation. 2000; 102: 2516-2521.

“Viagra,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs. com, see http://www.drugs.com/pro/viagra.html

“Sildenafil (Oral Route),” The Mayo Clinic, See  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR601513

“Bad Heart? Avoid Viagra, Mayo Clinic Says,” July 2008, see http://www.thirdage.com/heart-health/mayo-bad-heart-avoid-viagra

1“Viagra,” Official Information from the United States Food and Drug Administration, Drugs. com, see http://www.drugs.com/pro/viagra.html

Ibid.

Peterson, Karen.”Young Men Add Viagra to Their Drug Arsenal,” USA Today, March 21, 2003.

Ibid.

“Viagra Overdose,” Livestrong.com, The Livestrong Foundation,  see http://www.livestrong.com/article/52942-viagra-overdose-symptoms/

“Tokio Hotel guitarist Tom Kaulitz admits to popping Viagra – and overdosing on it,” The New York Post, May 14, 2010.

Tuller, David. “Experts Fear a Risky Recipe: Viagra, Drugs and H.I.V.,” The New York Times, October 16, 2001.

“Viagra,” Official Website from Pfizer Drugs, see http://www.viagra.com/

Eloi-Stiven ML, Channaveeraiah N, Christos PJ, Finkel M, Reddy R (November 2007). “Does marijuana use play a role in the recreational use of sildenafil?”. Journal of Family Practice 56 (11): E1–4. PMID 17976333 (//www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17976333) .

McCambridge J, Mitcheson L, Hunt N, Winstock A (March 2006). “The rise of Viagra among British illicit drug users: 5-year survey data”. Drug and Alcohol Review 25 (2): 111–3.

Peterson, Karen.”Young men add Viagra to their drug arsenal,” USA Today, March 21, 2003.

“Viagra Abuse Linked to Risky Sexual Behavior,” The Web MD, May 2005, see http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/news/20050526/viagra-abuse-linked-to-risky-sexual-behavior.

Altman, Lawrence. “Gays Use of Viagra and Methamphetamine Linked to Diseases,” The New York Times, March 11, 2004.

Tuller, David. “Experts Fear a Risky Recipe: Viagra, Drugs and H.I.V.,” The New York Times, October 16, 2001.

Zennie, Michael. “Americans Consume 80% of the World’s Pain Pills As Prescription Drug Abuse  Explodes Epidemic,” The Daily Mail, see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2142481/Americans-consume-80-percent-worlds-pain-pills-prescription-drug-abuse-epidemic-explodes.html#ixzz2KjEfDm9A

Thompson, Terri. “Source: Roger Clemens, host of athletes pop Viagra to help onfield performance,” The New York Daily News, June 10, 2008.

Strauss, Chris.”Bears’ Brandon Marshall says some NFL players use Viagra … ON THE FIELD,” USA Today, November 11, 2012.

Smith KM, Romanelli F (2005). “Recreational use and misuse of phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors”. Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association,  (2003) 45 (1): 63–72.

Find relief in recovery. Life gets better with addiction treatment.

Call our experts today.