HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Possible Viagra Link to Blindness

According to a UPI article in Science Daily, CBS News reports that the FDA is examining 50 cases of men who went blind after using Viagra.  In 1998, Dr. Howard Pomeranz  was the first doctor to make the connection between the drug and changes in vision.  Since Viagra alters the blood flow in "key parts of the body," it is possible that circulation to the optic nerve could be affected.  Pfizer told CBS that its studies show no reports of blindness and there is no more evidence of vision loss in men who take Viagra than those who do not.   Despite these remarks, Pfizer is working with the FDA to update the label to reflect this possible side effect.   

According to Reuters, reports of blindness have surfaced before, and in response, Pfizer said there was no proof that the blindness was linked to Viagra.  A Pfizer spokesperson could not say how many cases had been reported.    According to an article in Red Herring, Viagra has been linked to temporary changes in vision with patients reporting a tendency for the world to appear more blue or green.  A study in the March issue of the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology reports on the eye condition nonartheritic optic neuropathy caused by Viagra.  A new study shows that recreational use of Viagra is growing rapidly in men under 45 years of age. 

Since we are on the subject of Viagra, CNN reports that the New York state comptroller has announced that 198 paroled rapists and sex offenders have been reimbursed for Viagra by Medicaid over the past five years.  See also the NY Times Article.

Thanks to research assistant Lindley Bain for her help in preparing this post.  [tm]

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