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Study: Viagra use
unlikely to trigger heart attacks

Study: Viagra use
unlikely to trigger heart attacks

Men who take Viagra to overcome erectile difficulties do not increase their short-term risk of having a heart attack, a review of clinical trials indicates. The finding is "consistent with the growing body of evidence" demonstrating the cardiovascular safety of Viagra (known generically as sildenafil), Murray A. Mittleman of Harvard Medical School and colleagues note in the American Journal of Cardiology.

There have been isolated reports of heart attacks occurring with Viagra use, but until now no controlled analyses have been published, according to the team.

In the first large-scale study to look at this issue, Mittleman's group analyzed the risk of a heart attack within six and 24 hours after taking Viagra among 9,317 men enrolled in 80 international clinical trials from 1993 to 2000. A total of 69 heart attacks were recorded, but only 22 of these occurred within 24 hours of Viagra use. This suggests that "the absolute risk for [heart attack] temporally associated with sildenafil, and presumably sexual activity, is small, even in men with erectile dysfunction," the investigators write.

The study was funded by Pfizer, maker of Viagra.

Some studies have shown that gay men are more likely to try or to regularly use Viagra than their heterosexual peers. Viagra is also often used in conjunction with such club drugs as ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine to better enable users to maintain erections and engage in sex, frequently with multiple partners. (Reuters, with additional reporting by Advocate.com)

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