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The BBC's Christine Stewart
"There is some suggestion now that it could do the same for women"
 real 56k

Saturday, 26 May, 2001, 23:47 GMT 00:47 UK
Viagra 'works for women'
Viagra: a blockbusting impotence drug
Women may be able to benefit from the anti-impotence drug Viagra, Italian researchers suggest.

The results of their study conflict with earlier research projects which found little significant improvement among women who took the drug.

Viagra was initially designed as a drug to treat sexual problems in men, improving blood flow to the penis.

However, it has long been suspected that its effect might help many of the women who suffer the equivalent form of sexual dysfunction - an inability to either attain enough sexual arousal or to maintain it.

Sexual dysfunction in women is reportedly more common in women than impotence is in men.

The research concentrated on 53 women in their 20s - all affected by disorders restricting their ability to get sexually aroused.

Over four weeks, they were given either a placebo, or Viagra, then questioned about any changes.

The results suggested that both arousal and the ability to achieve orgasm both improved when Viagra was being taken.

'More satisfied'

The authors of the study, from the Centre for Sexological Research in the University of Catania, found women taking the drug said they were more satisfied by sex than those taking the placebo.

Viagra has been a multi-million dollar moneyspinner for Pfizer, the drug company which developed it, although other anti-impotence drugs are starting to approach the marketplace.

In the UK, the NHS is prepared to pay for a rationed quantity of tablets for men whose impotence is found to have a definable physical cause, or for whom it is causing significant psychological distress.

However, the NHS is not currently prepared to provide Viagra for women.

However, even Pfizer is somewhat sceptical about the latest research.

A spokesman for the company said: "To date, Pfizer's female sexual dysfunction (FSD) studies demonstrate that while Viagra has been well-tolerated, it has not shown a significant increase in reported sexual arousal.

"Salvadore Caruso's research is an interesting study that we will review as part of our ongoing research.

"Other Pfizer studies in FSD are ongoing including a phase II programme which is part of new research providing insight into various aspects of the condition.

"Results of this should be completed within the next year."

The research was published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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02 Jun 98 | Medical notes
How Viagra works
12 Mar 99 | Medical notes
Viagra: The pill for impotence
23 Mar 00 | Health
Viagra 'reverses infertility'
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