From BMJ-British Medical Journal
Viagra passes initial safety test, but more research is needed
Cardiovascular events in users of sildenafil: results from first phase of prescription event monitoring in England
A study in this week's BMJ finds no evidence for a higher incidence of fatal heart attack or ischaemic heart disease among English men taking sildenafil (Viagra). Although reassuring, further evidence is needed to confirm these findings, report the authors.
Users of sildenafil were identified from NHS prescriptions in England. Simple questionnaires were posted to the prescribing general practitioners about five months after the first prescription, requesting details of events after the drug had been prescribed.
Of 5,601 questionnaires analysed, ten fatal events from ischaemic heart disease (6 heart attacks and 4 ischaemic heart disease deaths) were reported. When compared with death rates in the general population of England in 1998, there was no evidence for a higher incidence of mortality in this group.
Though the results are reassuring, it is inappropriate to accept these comparisons as definitive evidence of equivalence between this cohort of sildenafil users and men in the general population in England, say the authors. This hypothesis needs to be examined further, they conclude.