Viagra At 20: Experts Reveal Pros & Cons Of The World’s Most Talked-About Drug

As Viagra turns 20 Pros and Cons Of The World's Most Talked-About Drug

It is the little blue pill, made in Britain, that revolutionised sex lives the world over

It is the little blue pill, made in Britain, that revolutionised sex lives the world over. Launched in 1998, this year Viagra turns 20 – and the best-known drug treatment for erectile dysfunction, prescribed to more than three million men in the UK, is going to be more easily available than ever.

From this spring, men will be able to buy it from a pharmacist without needing a prescription, providing they meet stringent medical criteria.

But despite being one of the most talked-about drugs of the 21st Century many myths and misconceptions still surround the treatment and the subject of erectile dysfunction.

Here, leading experts in the field reveal everything you never knew about Viagra and the things you really ought to…

Professor Roger Kirby, consultant urologist and director of The Prostate Centre in London, is a leading light in the field, having published more than 300 scientific papers on prostate tumours – and five years ago had treatment for prostate cancer himself.

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As Viagra turns 20 Pros and Cons Of The World's Most Talked-About Drug

He says: ‘Like all men who have had surgery for prostate cancer, I took medication for erectile dysfunction afterwards. Although techniques have improved vastly over the years, surgery in that area will always damage the nerves responsible for erections.

‘It takes time, but they do gradually recover. Taking Viagra, or a similar medication, helps that happen faster by stimulating blood supply to the area, which aids healing. That’s why we suggest that men start taking it as soon as they stop feeling tender after surgery.

‘I now tell patients that I recommend the same thing that I have done myself: a low dose of the drug every day with a larger dose as and when needed for activity.

Jo Coker is a psychosexual therapist and a spokeswoman for the College of Sexual Therapy and Relationships.

As Viagra turns 20 Pros and Cons Of The World's Most Talked Drug

She says: ‘When Viagra launched, people thought it would be an instant solution to their flagging sex lives. But like all quick fixes and solutions in a pill, there are caveats.

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‘Let’s not forget, there are two people in every couple and both need to be considered when drugs like this are being used. It can’t be a decision that just one person takes.

David Ralph is a consultant urologist at University College Hospital London and in Harley Street. He is president of the Sexual Advice Association.

As Viagra turns 20 Pros and Cons Of The World's Most Talked-About Drugs

He says: ‘Viagra is the best option we have for erectile dysfunction. But there are promising treatments in the pipeline for men who can’t take or tolerate the tablets, or get no effect from them.

Who can’t take it?

Viagra should not be used by men who have recently had a stroke or a heart attack, with low blood pressure or those with certain eye conditions.

Guidelines recommend cautiously prescribing it for men with any penile disorders, stomach ulcers or heart disease so again this should be evaluated with a GP.

It may be prescribed at a low dose for those with liver and kidney disease.

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