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Tuesday, May 26, 1998 Published at 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK


More patients hospitalised after taking Viagra
image: [ Saudi men have been hospitalised after taking Viagra ]
Saudi men have been hospitalised after taking Viagra

Four Saudi men are reported to have been treated in intensive care units of private hospitals after taking the new anti-impotence drug Viagra.

The report - in the newspaper Al-Iktisadiya - follows the launch of an investigation into the drug by the US Food and Drug Administration, which announced that six men had died after taking the drug, hailed as a wonder cure for impotence.

One of the patients, aged 50, is said to have suffered a heart attack but have been released from hospital on Monday. There were no details of the state of the other three Saudis.

Black market sales

Viagra has been selling on the black market in Saudi Arabia, where it will be made available by prescription in three to six months, a health ministry official said.

In a similar case, three men were hospitalised in Egypt on Saturday after taking Viagra. Egypt has banned the sale of the drug until its side-effects have been fully tested.

Huge popularity in the United States

More than one million Americans are believed to have taken Viagra since it was launched just weeks ago.

Makers Pfizer insist the drug is safe, but have stressed it should not be taken by anyone already taking nitroglycerin or other nitrate drugs prescribed for heart disease.

However Viagra has also been associated with blurred vision, headaches and stomach ache.


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