February 2012 Archives

What's Wrong With This Commercial?

Thumbnail image for humor_icon.jpgMost Viagra ads are pretty tame, especially in the US. The spiciest thing might be a middle-aged couple dancing Salsa. But Pfizer's tried to venture out of the box a few times and gotten creative. Like this ad, with a badass dude driving a muscle car.

The spot features a '69 Camaro (yeah, 69 - wink, wink, nudge, nudge), being driven across a dusty, desolate stretch of road. Steam begins to come from under the hood: Houston, we have a problem. But, as our commercial voiceover narrator explains, this man knows how to handle anything and not get thrown. He's in control and knows exactly what to do.

He pulls into a beat-up gas station, pops the hood, confidently strides to the cooler for a large bottle of water. After taking a swig and brushing past the service station's aged owner, he pours the remainder of the bottle into the radiator, and roars off down the highway: destination, suburban bedroom, and presumable one hot suburban soccer mom.

So, what's wrong with this sequence? Members of a couple of online classic car forums were quick to point out some logistical and technical flaws. First, you don't take a radiator cap off a hot engine - that's a good way to end up with second degree burns or worse. Wait for it to cool down. Next, pouring chilled water into an overheating engine? What?! You could crack your engine block. And also it would generate a huge plume of steam. And was that mineral water he poured in there? That's just wrong. Not because real men don't drink mineral water, but because minerals are one of the last things you'd want going in your engine.

As the car guys point out, if the car is supposed to be some sort of analogy for how your body operates and how to treat it, this ad is sending the wrong message.

The bottom line: don't get your car repair advice from a Viagra ad, any more than you would consult your car mechanic about your sexual "hydraulics".

Gotta say though, the soundtrack is solid. You really can't go wrong with Howlin' Wolf.

Can You Get Addicted to Viagra?

Thumbnail image for faq-icon.jpgCan a guy become addicted to taking Viagra? Is the drug habit forming?

Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs are not addictive, even if you take them regularly. The way some people throw around words like "addiction" and "dependency", you might get a different impression. But if you read a tabloid headline about some celebrity's "Viagra addiction", rest assured it is just a figure of speech or a way of referring to their sexual exploits or compulsions.

If a man has a physical condition, like diabetes for example, that causes erectile dysfunction, and he has to take Viagra in order to function sexually, then you could say he is dependent on the drug, but only in order to get an erection. This isn't the same thing as a chemical dependency on, say, opiates or nicotine.

Taking Viagra or other ED drugs won't alter your sexual organs so that you'll become unable to achieve an erection without the drug. You'd have to have some underlying condition that causes ED in the first place.

That said, if the cause of erectile dysfunction is psychological rather than physical, it may be possible to develop a psychological dependency on Viagra. This can especially be true when performance anxiety is the problem. A man who is physically capable of getting erect without chemical help may come to rely on Viagra to bolster his confidence.

In either case, there is nothing about the drug that is compelling the individual to take it, or to take more of it more often, which are characteristics of addictions. You might see increased Viagra use - in quantity or frequency - in someone with compulsive sexual behavior, but the sexual compulsion would be driving the Viagra consumption, not the other way around.

Roe v. Viagra, or The Great Viagra Debate

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgIf you keep up with current events, perhaps you've noticed that suddenly Viagra keeps popping up in our national discourse. Amidst the maelstrom of the country's culture wars over contraception and familiy planning, Viagra has become a counterpoint that's invoked as a symbol of the inequity between benefits for men and women in healthcare. Perhaps the Daily Show's Jon Stewart put it most succinctly when he asked, "How is it that women can't get their pill and men can get their pill?"

The debate was sparked by President Obama's healthcare reforms around contraception, which include a provision that faith-based institutions or employers must either cover - or have their health insurance carriers cover - contraception for women, even if that contraception is against their faith. 

GOP candidates, conservatives, and religious leaders have objected, while the reforms' proponents have questioned why  institutions that would deny contraception coverage still cover drugs like Viagra. Especially since some of that Viagra is most likely going to single males, who are using it to have sex outside of marriage, which is also a religious violation for some of these same faiths.

In unrelated legislation, Virginia's lawmakers are considering a bill mandating ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. State senator Janet Howell proposed an amendment to the bill that would have required men to get a digital prostate exam and cardiac stress test before obtaining a Viagra prescription. That amendment did not pass, but certainly made its point and did raise questions about compelling women to undergo an invasive procedure. The Virginia House ultimately dropped the original requirement, which called for transvaginal ultrasounds, and scaled it back to external ultrasounds.

There have been a number of arguments put forward that place Viagra on one side of the health benefits equation, and contraception or abortion on the other. Maybe it's comparing apples and oranges. Still, conservatives haven't exactly been leaping up to come to Viagra's defense.

"Bridesmaids" Daughter for Viagra Diaries

Production seems to be rolling along for the HBO's The Viagra Diaries, a comedy based on Barbara Rose Brooker's book of the same titleThumbnail image for news-icon.jpg. The show, created by Sex and the City's Darren Star, feature's Goldie Hawn as a single 65-year-old having various romantic misadventures with mature Lotharios. Now there's a Bridesmaid in the mix - Wendi McLendon-Covey of the film Bridesmaids will play Hawn's daughter, a therapist. The pilot will reunite McLendon-Covey with Bridesmaids director Paul Fieg, who will helm the episode. So if you were having doubts that following the love life of a 65-year-old divorcee might not be that exciting, it looks like the series (or a least the pilot) has the potential to be funnier than you might expect.

Pfizer Gets Short Patent Extension

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgThe FDA has granted Pfizer a six-month patent extension for any drug containing sildenafil - because the drug giant has been testing the ingredient for pediatric use. The drug in question is Revatio - the medication for pulmonary hypertension - not Viagra, of course, but because they share the same active ingredient, the patent extension applies to both.

As a result, the patent for Viagra, which would have expired in 2019, will be extended to April 2020;  the patent for Revatio will extend to September for its tablet form, and to May 2013 for its intravenous form. The basic patent for sildenafil itself, which was set to expire in March, will now expire in September.

Federal law grants patent extensions for pediatric testing to give drug companies incentive to test drugs that could be beneficial to children. The exclusivity period prevents competing formulations from entering the marketplace.

Is a patent extension of 6 months really consequential? In the long run, probably not, but it's six months more that competitors have to wait to profit from Viagra knock-offs.

This Valentine's Day, Say It With Viagra

Thumbnail image for humor_icon.jpgStill looking for a last-minute Valentine's gift for your sweetie? How about something that does double duty, like these Viagra candy hearts. It's a safe bet that this story, about Pfizer giving out low-dose Viagra tablets in the shape of candy conversation hearts as a Valentine's promotion, is bogus, but it wouldn't be a bad idea for Pfizer to mix up their branding and packaging a bit.

candy hearts.jpg
Here's an idea that would let them keep their trademark blue diamond shape: partner with General Mills Foods and release Lucky Charms Viagra. They'll just need to make pills in the shapes of yellow moons, green clovers, pink hearts, orange stars, and maybe a couple other things they added in the cereal since I was a kid. The ad slogan writes itself: Get Lucky in Love.

Viagra: Putting the V in Valentine's Day

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgValentine's Day is just around the corner, and you know the florists are gearing up for a rush - but how about the pharmacies? You would expect to see a retail bump in items like cut flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards - but a lot of lovers have another item on their V-Day shopping list: Viagra.

Market research data confirms what you might expect - Viagra sales soar by about 25% just before Valentine's Day. Users say it's just another romantic gesture  - like a fancy dinner or a dozen roses.

The seasonal run on erectile dysfunction drugs comes as no surprise to sex researchers.

"It's kind of like birthday sex or Christmas sex," said Debby Herbenick, an educator at the Kinsey Institute. "This is an opportunity that only comes up occasionally and they want to be prepared."

Not all holiday sex is created equal, though. Viagra sales slump to their lowest yearly point the week of Thanksgiving - when relatives typically congregate. And the strongest demand for Cialis, which has longer-lasting effects than Viagra, is right before the three-day Labor Day weekend.

Of course, there are always opportunists looking for ways to profit off the increased demand. According to Security News Daily, the rates of Viagra spam also jump just before the holiday, so expect your Junk mail folder to get engorged as well.

Over the (Lunch ) Counter Viagra

Thumbnail image for humor_icon.jpgViagra for lunch? No, it's not the businessman's quickie. Some restaurants aren't shy about putting Viagra namesakes on the on the menu - and apparently diners aren't that shy about ordering them either.

Kanes Diner in Queens offers a Viagra Steak, a marinated skirt steak cooked to melt-in -your-mouth tenderness. The diner's owner, George Kanes, says the that the steak is "always a happy ending," while the chef claims the way he seasons the beef is "best for love life".

Patrons seem to be satisfied in the dining room, if not in the bedroom, and Kanes takes his own "medicine", eating four of the steaks per month.

Another establishment featuring Viagra victuals is Mr. Bartley's Gourmet Burgers in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This nostalgic eatery near the Cambridge campus serves up specialty burgers with famous namesakes like the cheesy "Mitt Romney" and the hot and spicy "Michelle Obama". Their Viagra Burger comes topped with blue cheese dressing and bacon - nothing that provocative, but a waitress reports that the orders provoke lots of giggling.

These blue plate specials sound like they belong in the Pfizer cafeteria, and considering how protective the company is of the trademark, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the Pfizer legal team dropped in for a bite and served up a cease and desist order to those chefs.

Viagra Doritos: A New Way to Dip Your Chip

Thumbnail image for humor_icon.jpgHalf of the fun of tuning in to the Super Bowl is watching the commercials, as companies go all out to debut new advertising campaigns and products. Here's a commercial we'd like to have seen, for a product you won't see on the shelves any time soon: Viagra Doritos.

This commercial break comes to you courtesy of NMA (Next Media Animations), a Taiwanese animation house best know for their hilarious, often surreal and demented CGI recreations of current news stories.

Nice concept for marketing synergy, but it does overlook a potential problem: Doritos breath can be a real mood-killer.

Is It Against Regulations for Athletes to Take Viagra?

Thumbnail image for faq-icon.jpgAre there anti-doping rules in sports against Viagra? Is it considered a performance-enhancing drug for athletes?

This was a hot topic a few years ago, when the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) was considering whether to ban Viagra from sports, and researchers released reports that cyclists could improve their (athletic) performance up to 45% at high-altitude conditions while using the drug.

There were also a couple of high profile cases of athletes taking the drug under somewhat suspicious circumstances. Former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens was caught with a stash of Viagra in his locker, hidden in a GNC vitamin bottle. And cyclist Andrea Moletta was removed  from the Giro d'Italia after police found 82 Viagra tablets and some syringes hidden in toothpaste tubes in his father's car.

How does Viagra give athletes an edge? By dilating blood vessels, it makes it possible for the body to pump more blood through the lungs, increasing delivery of oxygen to the muscles. Reportedly, some athletes have also taken it in combination with anabolic steroids, to enhance absorption of the steroids.

And yet, after all the suspicion surrounding the blue pill, WADA has not yet banned its use for athletes. Follow up studies showed that the drug's effect at sea level was not proportional to its high-altitude boost, and some athletes didn't derive any real benefit from it. The jury may still be out though, as results from the studies continue to be analyzed.

However, it's unlikely that Viagra will be banned as a performance enhancing drug, since some male athletes take it for legitimate reasons, and there's no compelling evidence that it can be widely used to improve athletic results.

Good News for Heart Patients: Sex Is Safe, So Is Viagra

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgSex is one of the biggest concerns for heart attack survivors and people with heart disease. How risky is it? A recent US report has some answers. The researchers concluded that sex is safe for most heart patients, as long as the person is healthy enough to ascend two flights of stairs. So, as long as your date doesn't live in a third-floor walk-up, you're good.

However, the study's author, Glenn Levine, a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, stressed that people should also do cardiac rehabilitation before engaging in any sexual activity.

Sex would probably be all right, they said, up to one week after a mild heart attack, when a patient should be able to ascend a few flights of stairs without discomfort.

Viagra was generally safe for men who had stable heart disease, they concluded.

In general, the doctors found that sex was a minimal risk in contributing to a first heart attack. On the other hand, they found that married men having affairs with younger women had the highest risk of sudden death during sex.

For couples under less stressful situations, sex can be beneficial. Dan Fintel, a professor of medicine at Northwestern University in the US, said that resuming sexual activity was safe and actually counted as part of the post-heart attack healing process.

Bill Would Require "In Depth" Exam for Viagra Prescription

Thumbnail image for news-icon.jpgUsually, all you need to get a prescription for Viagra is to "have a talk" with your doctor. An amendment proposed by Virginia state senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), would have required patients seeking the erectile dysfunction drug to submit to a more "probing" check up - a digital prostate exam.

The amendment, which would have required men to have a prostate exam and cardiac stress test before obtaining Viagra, was payback on a bill requiring women seeking abortions to undergo sonograms. The bill, introduced by state Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier), is similar to one passed in Texas in 2011, aimed at deterring women from terminating their pregnancies by making them view a sonogram and listen to a detailed description of the fetus.

Said Howell, "The Virginia senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have a totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we're going to do that to women, why not do that to men?"

The rectal exam amendment was defeated by a 21-19 vote in the state senate, while the sonogram bill, SB 484, passed the senate by 21-18. No doubt it will pass as well in the Republican-controlled Virginia house of representatives, although its constitutionality will certainly be challenged.

After Howell presented her amendment on the senate floor, Senator Vogel countered that erectile dysfunction and pregnancy are clearly not equivalent. Agreed, but requiring unnecessary sonograms and proctological exams is equally ridiculous.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2012 is the previous archive.

March 2012 is the next archive.

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