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Health

Viagra for women, more and more are turning to the impotence drug

couple
Joanne Dorman had a hysterectomy eight years ago. She now takes Viagra and says sex with her husband is 'fabulous.'  
November 4, 1998
Web posted at: 3:26 p.m. EST (2026 GMT)
From Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen

ATLANTA (CNN) -- The popular impotence drug for men, Viagra, has been on the market for seven months. But now, thousands of women with sexual problems are also taking the little blue pill.

According the Pfizer, the drug's manufacturer, Viagra has been prescribed for some 150,000 women.

They include Joanne Dorman who had a hysterectomy eight years ago, an operation that some doctors say can lead to a decreased interest in sex.

"It was more of a job or a task, not a pleasurable event," she said.

But after taking Viagra, she says sex with her husband is a lot better.

"It's fabulous, it's fabulous. It's an enjoyable moment in our life."

Viagra works for both men and women by increasing the blood flow to the genitals. Women need this blood flow, just as men do, to achieve sexual arousal.

Pfizer researcher Dr. Irwin Goldstein said he and his colleagues at Boston University Medical Center have not done a Viagra study with women, but says they have prescribed the drug to some 50 female patients. He said it has worked for most of them.

"It has shown evidence of enhanced lubrication, less pain, more arousal, less problems with orgasm," Goldstein said.

The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved Viagra for women, but doctors can prescribe it for both sexes.

Goldstein said there's no reason to think the side effects, such as headaches and temporary visual problems, will be any different than in men. Viagra for men and woman can be deadly of taken with heart medicine containing nitrates.

Viagra
According the Pfizer, the drug's manufacturer, Viagra has been prescribed for some 150,000 women  

Currently, there is no definitive research on Viagra and women.

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan, who as been a consultant to Pfizer, said it's not yet safe for women to take.

"While I think it's worth exploring whether Viagra might be beneficial to women, it's absolutely not time to be prescribing it to women," he said.

Bur Dorman disagrees.

"I think that if we want to continue to have a caring, family-oriented relationship amongst couples, there are women who have needs that must be addressed as equally as their male counterparts," she said.

It will be next year before Pfizer releases its results of studies with women and Viagra. Meanwhile, other pharmaceutical companies are investigating other treatments for women with sexual problems.

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