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Last Updated: Monday, 19 April, 2004, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Wife divorces husband over Viagra
The man in his 50s had turned to Viagra to help the couple's sex life
A middle-aged woman who says Viagra wrecked her marriage has been granted a divorce in what is thought to be the first case of its kind in Britain.

She claimed her husband became unreasonably sexually aggressive after turning to the anti-impotence drug.

The couple, who have not been named, are in their 50s with adult children.

However, the drug's manufacturers Pfizer said it was unfair to blame the treatment - and said the pill has helped bring couples closer.

The poor woman has to switch on her functions overnight and perform in a way that she hasn't in years
Julia Cole, Relate

The divorce, handled by Oxford-based solicitors Boodle Hatfield, is the only known British case in which Viagra has been cited.

But lawyers in the US have reported a glut of similar cases.

A 70-year-old New York man began cheating on his 61-year-old wife just two days after starting his prescription, according to USA Today newspaper.

In another American case, a wife brought a law suit against her husband after he spiked her drink with Viagra in a bid to boost their lovemaking.

Julia Cole, a sex therapist with relationship counselling service Relate, said women could have trouble readjusting to their partners' new Viagra-induced libido.

She told BBC News Online: "One of the things that people have forgotten about Viagra is that it can't change the attitude of the man or the pattern of lovemaking the couple have previously had.

It's unfair to blame medication for a divorce - if anything Viagra brings couples closer together
Sally Goodenough, Pfizer

"Its drawback is that is doesn't change the way people think or behave towards sex.

"Sex therapists can do a very good job of helping people to overcome these sort of issues."

But a UK spokeswoman for Pfizer, the makers of Viagra, said the drug had helped millions of relationships worldwide.

Sally Goodenough told BBC News Online: "It's unfair to blame medication for a divorce.

"Half a million men have been prescribed Viagra since its launch in the UK and we have never heard of this happening before.

"If anything Viagra brings couples closer together by helping men overcome a serious and distressing medical condition.

"If any couple is experiencing problems with Viagra they should go back to their GP or to a relationship counsellor for more help."

An estimated 20 million men have taken the remedy in 110 countries since it was launched in 1998.

Some $2bn-worth of the diamond-shaped blue pills are sold annually.

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