Little Bits of History

Little Blue Pill

Posted in History by patriciahysell on March 27, 2012


March 27, 1998: The US Food and Drug Administration approves a new blue pill. Sildenafil citrate inhibits cGMP specific phosphodiesterase type 5, an enzyme that regulates blood flow. The drug is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and is produced by Pfizer under the trade name Viagra. The drug was first synthesized at a research facility in Kent, England. It was initially studied as a method for controlling high blood pressure and/or angina or chest pain. The vascular effects did little to ease chest pain, but an interesting feature popped up.

The new compound was marketed as a treatment for ED. It was patented in 1996 and was the first oral treatment approved in the US. Viagra went on sale later in the year. It was and is available only by prescription but an advertising campaign was launched directed toward consumers. Pfizer was the number one pharmaceutical company in the world as rated by Fortune magazine in 1997. That was even before Viagra hit the market.

Viagra has been prescribed to over 15 million men. Today’s pharmacopeia includes tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra) which can also both be given for treatment of ED. Rivatio is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. It is the same chemical as Viagra but given in different doses. According to Viagra’s website, there are three factors involved in a satisfactory erection: hardness, timing, and ability to maintain the erection. The little blue pill can help with all three issues. It does not immediately cause an erection. The man must still be aroused. The pill usually works within thirty minutes and effects last for four hours. After sex, the erection fades.

Erectile dysfunction or male impotence is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. The physiology involved can be adversely affected by a variety of causes. There are neurogenic, hormonal, arterial, and cavernosal disorders resulting in ED. There can be psychological reasons along with certain life choices (alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and obesity) which can create problems as well. If the cause of ED is based on the blood flow, Viagra may help. It is ineffective for other causes. There are other treatments available up to and including surgical interventions.

A new Viagra virus is going round the Internet. It doesn’t affect your hard drive, but you can’t minimize anything for hours. – Joan Rivers

I am a sexual machine now. Raring to go every second of the day. I’m human Viagra. I am Will-agra.  – Will Smith

I’m taking Viagra and drinking prune juice – I don’t know if I’m coming or going. – Rodney Dangerfield

Bob Dole revealed he is one of the test subjects for Viagra. He said on Larry King, ‘I wish I had bought stock in it.’ Only a Republican would think the best part of Viagra is the fact that you could make money off of it. – Jay Leno

Also on this day:

Long Distance Communication – In 1899, the first international radio communication occurred.
Tenerife Disaster – In 1977, the worst aviation disaster took place at Tenerife.
Earthquake – In 1964, Alaska was struck by a powerful earthquake.

Tagged with: ,

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Bobby Dias said, on March 28, 2012 at 1:31 am

    From this article: “Only a Republican would think the best part of Viagra is the fact that you could make money off of it. – Jay Leno”
    Now me- Only a Democrat would kill the baby made by the people using Viagra-(and the baby made by the people not using Viagra).

  2. Erection fades | Sellukus said, on April 30, 2012 at 12:56 am

    […] Little Blue Pill « Little Bits of History […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: