Viagra to Be an OTC Drug Soon

by Ann Samuel on  February 12, 2007 at 11:40 AM Senior Health News   - G J E 4
Viagra to Be an OTC Drug Soon
It appears a gift for those burdened with shyness and impotence, and maybe those who 'just don't have the time'- to see a doctor.

Boots Pharmacy, UK has announced moves to include Viagra- the hope of 3 million men suffering from erectile dysfunction in UK alone, in its list of those drugs that can be sold over the counter (OTC).

Other such drugs sold by Boots without the need of a prescription include chlamydia treatments, weight loss drug Xenical and a hair restoration product.

Boots has made use of the provision in the Patient Group Directions, a relatively little-used provision in prescribing regulations.

Emergency contraception is provided in this way. Other examples are diamorphine painkillers for people who have had a heart attack, antidotes to biological weapons and antiviral drugs in flu pandemic.

Viagra, the blue diamond -shaped anti-impotence pill launched in 1998, will now be sold at 50 pounds for four tablets, to those in the age group 30 to 65.

They must be able to satisfy the pharmacist with their reports of medical history, glucose and blood pressure levels as well as cholesterol levels. This is to screen for heart disease and diabetes.

Consultation fees are included in the 50-pound charge.

The pilot scheme may be seen as guiding the way to removing Viagra from prescription altogether and making it a true "over-the-counter" drug.

It may be noted that Pfizer, its manufacturer, would gain hugely if the drug could be marketed without prescription.

Viagra has been previously sold only on prescription, due to severe side effects like decrease or loss of vision and even, death.

Boots said it hopes the move, being piloted in three Manchester branches, will help more men combat impotence. It may even act as an extra form of screening to flag up other health problems.

However it is not recommended for people with heart problems who take drugs called nitrates, as the combination could lead to dangerously low blood pressure.

Says Dr Ian Banks, of the Men's Health Forum: "The only problems occur if Viagra is taken by men who are also taking nitrate drugs for chest pain. Pharmacists will make these checks and that is why we would prefer men to get Viagra from a pharmacist rather than over the Internet."

Source: Medindia

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