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Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Viagra gum, double your pleasure?

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta

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(CNN) -- Seeking to maximize its "Double Your Pleasure" slogan, gum maker Wrigley has filed for a patent to cover gum that contains the active ingredient in Viagra, Pfizer's impotence drug.

CNN Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta talked with Anchor Daryn Kagan about the possibility of such a chewing gum.

GUPTA: I've got to say, I'm getting a lot of jokes about this.

But it is a sort of serious topic, no question. Thirty million men have erectile dysfunction. And certainly that speaks to the popularity of Viagra. This medication was released back in 1998. It's been around five years, although it seems like a lot longer.

In 1998, it was originally released as a medication to affect chest pain. It affects the blood vessels all over the body, including in the chest. And that was why the medication was originally released.

The patent, by the way, expires in 2011. [It's] a very popular medication -- $1.7 billion in sales over the last year alone; nine pills per second, that's how often this medication is taken.

Wrigley's, trying to give the company a lift, actually applied for a patent to develop a Viagra chewing gum. This would be a chewing gum you actually chew about a half-hour before sex. Chew it about two minutes, and it should give you some of the same effects of the little blue pill that's become so popular.

This isn't unprecedented that a chewing gum might also contain a medication. Certainly people have heard about Nicorette for anti-smoking. They've heard about asthma-type medication in chewing gum as well, antacids. A lot of those don't require prescriptions. This would. But the important point here, this is a long way away.

People are certainly talking about it, certainly getting a lot of headlines, a lot of print, a lot of time on this show.

But it's 2011 before the patent even expires. So we're talking at least eight years.

KAGAN: Whether it's Viagra or another drug, why would someone rather have gum than just take a pill?

GUPTA: Well, there are some specific reasons for that. You know, people who have difficult taking pills. ... [And chewing gum] could be fast-acting, good tasting and improved dosage, even though that's a little controversial. Sometimes, if people chew the gum too fast, or they don't chew it long enough, you may not get enough of the medication in there.

Some people complain of upset [stomachs] with this particular medication, Viagra. It's the chewing gum that may provide a little bit of benefit there. ...

We talked to the spokespeople both at Viagra as well as Wrigley's, and they say they don't really have plans right now. They've applied for this patent, yes. It could be a Viagra chewing gum, yes, but it's eight years away.


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