November 2011 Archives

Siri Can Find You Viagra But Not Birth Control

Thumbnail image for humor_icon.jpg Apple's Siri, the voice of iPhone4, is pretty amazing when it comes to providing helpful information, but apparently "she" has some blind spots. Siri can help you find Viagra, but can't help you deal with the aftermath. Women investigating the AI's aptitude have found it woefully lacking in knowledge of female reproductive health. Or maybe Apple is just revealing an unexpected pro-life bias.

[via Abortioneers]

Q: I am pregnant and do not want to be. Where can I go to get an abortion?

"I'm really sorry about this, but I can't take any requests right now. Please try again in a little while."

"Sorry, [my name], I can't look for places in Tanzania."

"I don't see any abortion clinics. Sorry about that."

Q: I had unprotected sex. Where can I go for emergency contraception?

"Sorry, I couldn't find any adult retail stores." This was repeated every time.

Q: I need birth control. Where can I go for birth control?

"I didn't find any birth control clinics." [This was repeated every time I asked about birth control, all three times. This is also the answer given when I asked, "What is birth control?"]

Actually, I have to take back what I said about Siri not helping with Viagra's aftermath. While she can't offer any information for preventing or dealing with unwanted pregnancies, Siri is prepared for other consequences.

[also via Abortioneers]

Is Siri just playing dumb? It's not that she isn't worldly - she can tell you where to go to hire an escort, buy dope, find a strip club, or dump a dead body.  Interestingly, Siri gets some of its data from Wolfram Alpha, which you may remember,  initially displayed surprising naivete regarding penis size. It may just take Siri a little time - and a little prompting -  to get up to speed on reproductive health issues. There's now a petition to bring the issue to Apple's attention.

Could Viagra Be Linked to Birth Defects?

faq-icon.jpgIf older couples are more likely to have children with birth defects, could Viagra cause an increase in infants born with those problems?

We came across a syndicated health column recently in which a reader posed an interesting question about Viagra: Could Viagra be related to birth defects? Not directly related in the sense that, say, alcohol use or thalidomide during pregnancy could cause birth defects. Sildenafil has been tested extensively and thoroughly vetted by the FDA, and there's no reason to think that the drug, taken by men or women, has that effect.

The issue is more complex and relates to demographics. Women's eggs do have an expiration date - as women age, the chromosomal material in them is more likely to break down. Statistically, children born to  mothers aged 40- 54 years have the highest rates of Downs Syndrome, and in general women over 35 are more likely birth infants with that and other congenital conditions such as heart defects, hypospadias, clubfoot, and diaphragmatic hernia.

Given that Viagra and similar drugs are allowing older couples to have intercourse who might not otherwise, is it possible that erectile dysfunction drugs could be causing an increase in the incidence of birth defects? Older couples might not think to use birth control if the woman is perceived to be past child-bearing age.

It's an intriguing question, but I don't think it can be answered. In theory, it seems plausible, and the numbers are probably there to crunch if you're so inclined. But there are so many variables, and Viagra hasn't been available long enough to get a really solid statistical sample. But actually, the overall number of birth defects between 1999 and 2005 has declined or remained stable most years.

It's true there's been an average increase in the age at which women become mothers. But this has less to do with Viagra and more to do with socio-economic factors. The biggest change is that women are delaying childbirth so they can pursue careers.

Of course, you'd have to limit your data set to developed countries where you can get Viagra and women have the option (or obligation, depending on how you look at it) to pursue careers.

So the short answer is,probably not in any statistically significant way, but there's not enough information.

In a Rush to Get Frisky? Hurry Up and Wait

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgDrug maker Vivus announced some news about its pipeline drug, avanafil, another PDE-5 inhibitor that some have called the "son of Viagra".  In late-stage trials, the new pharmaceutical is living up to its promise  - enabling men with erectile dysfunction to perform within 15 minutes of dosing.

But not so fast, there, Skippy - the drug has yet to be approved by the FDA. Vivus' application for approval has been accepted, but it could still be a while.

In the meantime, what can you do if you're feeling amorous yet pressed for time? Viagra usually takes 30 - 60 minutes to go into effect, although many of our readers testify that they feel the effects in as little as 15 minutes. Taking the drug on an empty stomach may help it get into your system quicker. Keep in mind that fatty foods slow absorption of medications.

Who knows - maybe with the pressure of the competition, Pfizer will release a reformulated fast-acting version of Viagra. A sublingual form would probably go over well. In fact, you know what would be awesome? Viagra pop rocks - that fizzy candy that explodes on your tongue.That would kill two birds with one stone - a faster acting drug that appeals to a younger demographic and combats Viagra's image as a geriatric medication. Of course, there's no way that would ever fly with the FDA, but it's a fun thought.

What Are the Effects of Long-Term Viagra Use?

Thumbnail image for faq-icon.jpgDoes using Viagra regularly over a long period of time have any adverse effects?

It's difficult to say whether Viagra has any lasting effects for really, really long-term use, since the drug has only been available for about 13 years. There simply isn't any data about longer term use. Moreover, a lot of reported "side effects" have a correlated, rather than cause-and-effect, relationship with Viagra usage, meaning it's not clear whether the symptom is caused directly by the drug, develops in combination with other factors, or is just a coincidence.

While there are no problems known to be associated specifically with prolonged Viagra use, some side effects are acute and others take time to develop, so you would have to be using the drug over a period of time to experience them.

Some of the more serious effects can include joint pain and inflammation, bone loss, hearing loss, vision problems, and anemia. It's important to note that while heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems have been associated with taking Viagra, most of those users already had heart disease or were at risk for it. This is why it's so important to consult with your doctor before taking Viagra, and get regular check ups while using the drug.

One report we'd like to debunk: there's an article in circulation, supposedly from the New York Times, that cites unspecified US and UK studies claiming that long-term Viagra use causes permanent loss of sex drive and even genital shrinkage. Although it's been passed around on a lot of internet forums, the article is bogus, never appeared in any credible news publication, and contains completely inaccurate information.

So, if you're a regular, long-time user, don't worry that Viagra will kill your libido or cause your manhood to wither away. However, you should pay attention to any changes in your health, and check in regularly with your physician, especially if you smoke, use other medications, or are at risk for heart disease or other serious conditions.

Viagra Bandit Sticks Up Pharmacy, Gets Lets Down

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgI guess Canadian pharmacies are over-hyped. A robber who held up a Quebec drugstore at knife point managed to pocket some cash, but went away empty handed when he demanded some Viagra.
After milling around for a while, looking suspicious, the man was approached by a clerk, asked a question, and was directed to a cashier for information about a drug. The suspect then whipped out a hunting knife, told the cashier to empty the till, then asked the employee to give him some Viagra. She told him she didn't have any, after which he fled the scene.

A pharmacy without Viagra? Seriously? 

More likely, she just meant that she didn't have any on hand at the cash register. As far as I know, even in Canada, Viagra's not an over-the-counter drug. And in case you're wondering, no, the hold-up guy wasn't on the lam from the local retirement home - witnesses say he was about 25 years old.

Viagra: The Despot's Drug of Choice?

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Henry Kissinger once said that power was the ultimate aphrodisiac. Even so, apparently the ultimate aphrodisiac needs a helping hand sometimes. A former personal chef and manservant of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has revealed intimate details about Gaddafi's sex life, including the fact that he had a serious Viagra habit. In fact, he took so many of the pills that his nurse told him to cut down.

While his use may have been excessive, the pills weren't going to waste. According to his servant, Gaddafi slept with up to four women a day. This is where it gets disturbing. Well, more disturbing. Apparently many of the women, including members of Gaddafi's elite squad of female bodyguards, were forced to have sex, and some were injured.

Though sad, this is not surprising. Gaddafi abused power, he abused Viagra - you put the two together and things get ugly. Reportedly Saddam Hussein had a thing for Viagra too.

Here's hoping that we don't get any more unsavory revelations about Gaddafi's personal life. His obsession with Condoleezza Rice was creepy enough.

Viagra in a Can? Pour Youself a Stiff One

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It's an old joke that made the internet meme rounds years ago - that phony press release announcing "liquid Viagra" in soft drink form. What did they call it? Mount-n-Do or something like that.

Now artist Robert Gauldin has taken it a step further, imagining what it would look like if you could get Viagra in a can (as well as other pharmaceuticals) out of a vending machine.


This is just a conceptual representation of what a Viagra beverage might look like. The packaging is a bit minimal, but nicely done, and the soda can silhouette looks is iconic, but in reality, another format might be more practical. Because this would be a drink you'd want to slam down, not sip.

I envision something much smaller, along the lines of one of those Starbucks Double Shots, or mini Coke cans. Or even one of those 5-hour-energy bottles. You wouldn't want carbonation (belching's not sexy) and too much fluid intake before sex (as any beer drinker will tell you) will lead to inconveniently timed bathroom breaks.

So, does it come in a 12-pack?

The Worst Kind of Viagra Abuse

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgFirst, there were rumors and allegations that Muammar Gaddafi's troops had been issued Viagra to enable them to commit acts of sexual violence as a weapon of warfare. It's an unconfirmed but horrible possibility that doesn't seem that far-fetched.

Now, another Viagra-related atrocity has made headlines, one that is sadly corroborated by an Irish court. The Belfast Telegraph and Donegal Daily report that an 88-year-old grandfather took Viagra in order to sexually assault five of his grandkids. A judge rejected the man's appeal that his 15-year sentence was too severe.

The crimes took place between July 1993 and September 2009, so the perpetrator, unlike some have attempted, can't blame Viagra for his wrongdoing - it didn't become available until 1998. But it's tragic that a drug developed to facilitate sexual relationships between consenting adults could be used for such abhorrent purposes.

Is it possible Viagra could become a controlled substance due to the actions of a few sick individuals? In the wake of this crime, some are calling for doctors to be more vigilant about prescribing the medication and checking that the user has a valid need for the drug and won't be abusing it. But it's hard to see how this could be enforced, and it would put burdens on both doctors and patients. However, it might make sense to add an extra penalty for sexual crimes if an erectile dysfunction drug is used in committing the act.

Viagra Fights Melanoma in Mice

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German scientists investigating chronic inflammation and immune responses to melanoma tumors in mice have found that treatment with sildenafil - Viagra's active ingredient - doubled their survival time compared to mice who did not receive the drug, a promising outcome for this common but deadly skin cancer. 

"Our research approach is special because the disease takes a very similar course in mice as melanoma does in humans," Viktor Umansky,  immunologist at DKFZ and University Medical Center Mannheim said.

Melanoma, like most cancerous tumors, creates chronic inflammation in its immediate vicinity, which can prohibit immune cells from reproducing and fighting the tumor off. By some mechanism, sildenafil is able to combat the inflammation and its immunosuppressive effects.

"Our aim is to reduce the chronic inflammations and, thus to support the immune system in actively fighting the cancer," Umansky said.

Results were pretty dramatic: "Of the mice that had been given the substance with their drinking water, more than twice as many were still alive after about seven weeks as of their untreated fellows. In the animals that had been treated, both the number of tumor-specific T cells and the level of activating molecules had returned to normal."

Does this mean that in the future, chemotherapy for cancer patients might include a Viagra cocktail? We'll drink to that.

Ka-ching! Pfizer Rings Up Another Settlement

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgPfizer's had its day in court - yet again. After a drawn-out battle with Teva Pharmaceuticals over patent rights to Viagra, Pfizer won their bid to get payback for court fees - to the tune of $378,285. That's really a drop in the bucket for a company that earned $67.8 billion last year. But it's a matter of principle, right?

The judge sided with Pfizer, agreeing that Teva had basically wasted everybody's time with baseless accusations that Pfizer attempted to defraud the U.S. Patent Office way back when they filed the original patents for Viagra. To be sure, Pfizer's patent lawyers acted in the company's best interest when they framed the wording of the patent, but their phrasing and their conduct weren't egregious. They were just, you know, doing what lawyers do.

Knowing Teva, the David of drug companies that seems intent on taking down Pfizer's Goliath, there's probably an appeal in the works. With everything Teva already owes, they don't have much to lose.

Myth #10: Taking Viagra Will Make Your Penis Larger

Thumbnail image for myth_icon.jpgIf that were true, Viagra would be 100 times more popular than it is now.

Some men report that Viagra does increase their penis size. Wellll...this may be true subjectively - in the sense that an overinflated tire may be slightly larger than one with normal air pressure.

What most of these users are saying is that their erections seem "bigger" while using Viagra. Which could be possible for some. A little bit. When Viagra is working at its optimum, the volume of blood it sends to the penis might be greater than what would normally occur during arousal without Viagra, making it engorge more fully and seem a little longer or thicker. But we're not talking inches - probably a millimeter or two. In addition, for some users, Viagra produces a harder than usual erection, which, depending on your the shape of your shaft, could make it appear longer by straightening out a curvature. 

Is it enough of a difference to be noticeable? Maybe to the owners of said appendages, but probably not to anyone else. But does Viagra actually make things larger, permanently? Seriously, if there was a pill that actually worked for that, don't you think every guy would be taking it? Those other herbal "supplements" and pills don't work either, so save your money.

Former Pfizer VP Gets Enlarged Package

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgA former Pfizer employee, dubbed "Viagra gal" by the New York Post, hit the layoff lottery when she found the company had accidentally inflated her severance payment by half a million. But now the company is intent on taking back their unintentional largesse.

It's not clear whether former sales VP Janet Rodriguez was ever involved with the Viagra account before the pharma giant let her go in 2009, but she did work for the company for 16 years. Her severance for those years of service was supposed to be a little over $100,000.

Instead, Pfizer sent her a check for $517,140.24 - about $410,000 more than she was supposed to receive. (Maybe she got one of the CEO's bonuses by accident?) She kept it (wouldn't you?), but months later Pfizer came calling to recoup the excess cash, sending letters and finally a collections agency after Rodriguez. She ignored them.

She's sticking to her guns: "By virtue of the fact that they bring this claim so late in the game, so long after their alleged mistake, (it) is just a cheap bullying tactic that we expect the court to see right through," said her lawyer. But we expect Pfizer to stick to theirs, and keep pursuing the matter.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. In the meantime, you can check out the original lawsuit, which is entertaining for its use of the term "enhanced lump sum" and the creepy corporate-speak euphemism "Adapting to Scale" (to describe Pfizer's layoffs).

Do Viagra Tablets Work Faster When You Split Them?

Thumbnail image for faq-icon.jpgDoes splitting a Viagra tablet make it work faster because the coating is broken and the inside is exposed? Can I increase the rate of effect by cutting my dose into smaller pieces?

In general, people report widely varied onset times for Viagra, from 15 minutes to 90 minutes. Various factors can affect how quickly the drug is absorbed, including what you've eaten beforehand and how much. Many Viagra users buy 100mg pills and split them in half or in quarters to save money vs. buying 25mg or 50mg tablets. And it stands to reason that once a Viagra tablet's protective coating is breached and more of the medication's surface area is exposed, it will break down faster after being swallowed. 

Some people crush Viagra tablets into a powder and put it under their tongues. Users reports that this works, they do get faster results. And also, it tastes terrible. While we haven't heard of any negative effects aside from the taste, Viagra was designed to be delivered into your system at a certain rate. So it might not be the best idea to alter that by chewing or pulverizing the tablets. Substances absorbed sublingually go into the bloodstream more directly than through the stomach, which would affect the appropriate dosage. But again, you'd just be doing guesswork here in order to get the appropriate amount. And don't even think about snorting the powder.

If you want to chop up your regular dosage into tiny pieces and  swallow them, that seems like a safe compromise that might speed up your time to lift-off. One thing you should be wary of is the sublingual Viagra tablets, soft-tabs, or lozenges sold online. Pfizer doesn't make Viagra in a sublingual form, so these products are generic and may or may not have sildenafil in them.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2011 is the previous archive.

December 2011 is the next archive.

This is the blog for the Viagra Stories website, aka where real people share their experiences taking Viagra.