August 24, 2005

Viagra Unlikely to Trigger Heart Attack

Reuters Health - 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), Dr. Murray A. Mittleman from Harvard Medical School in Boston 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 6 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, Inc., maker of Viagra.

SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology, August 1, 2005.