Sildenafil is a pretty common medication for erectile dysfunction. Apart from that, it has another use, which is to treat the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension.
Although Sildenafil is the name of the medication, it is also commonly called Viagra or Revatio. Both of these are specifically marketed towards individuals who are suffering from either erectile dysfunction or pulmonary hypertension, respectively. Patients ingest Sildenafil orally.
The Pfizer Scientists
Before anyone ever thought of using Sildenafil to treat erectile dysfunction, it was synthesised by a number of pharmaceutical chemists that were working in a location based in Sandwich, Kent in England. These chemists were working for a company called Pfizer. They were studying Sildenafil, also known as compound UK-92,480, to see if it could be used to treat either hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, and also to see if it could alleviate the symptom of corollary heart disease. Specifically, they were attempting to verify that Sildenafil could ease the pain caused by angina pectoris, oftentimes described as a pressure or pain in the chest, caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart muscle.
In order to verify Sildenafil’s effectiveness, the chemists needed to perform some clinical trials to determine the drug’s effectiveness. With that in mind, the chemists began hunting for locations within which they could hold these trials. Eventually, they were allowed to perform their clinical trials in the Morriston Hospital in the City and County of Swansea, a province within the United Kingdom. One of the clinicians named Ian Osterloh was the director of the first clinical trial that took place.
The Results of the First Clinical Trial
The results of that trial held some interesting results. Although the researchers did indeed find that Sildenafil had some very minor effects regarding angina pectoris, there was another result that was not quite as expected. The aid that the medication lent to widening the blood vessels in the body meant that marked erections could more easily be produced. Although this end result was certainly unexpected by the chemists, the company that they worked for, Pfizer, still saw an opportunity before them.
That opportunity was this: there was not yet a good solution to the issue of erectile dysfunction on the market. Nobody else had quite figured out the issue at that time. This was probably because they did not yet discern the connection between cGMP-specific phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). PDE5 works by degrading the cGMP so that it does not overpopulate the bloodstream. However, those who have erectile dysfunction do not produce adequate amounts of cGMP in order to get an erection. Sildenafil helps the body to produce erections by blocking some of the effect of PDE5, thus allowing the cGMP to flourish more than it could previously. Because of this, the veins that flow into the penis can expand normally. Since erections depend upon blood flow, this increased stream of blood allows the body to normally get erect.
The Creation of the Patent
This discovery, accidental though it was, was incredibly important. Sildenafil was the first of its kind, a pill that could alleviate the symptoms of erectile dysfunction that could be ingested orally. The treatment is easily doable by any man who suffers from erectile dysfunction, requiring only that he ingest the pill at least thirty minutes before he engages in the sexual act.
Pfizer capitalised on the discovery, creating a patent for the medication in 1996. Shortly before this, Pfizer decided that they would market the pill as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, rather than as a treatment for angina pectoris. After a period of about two years, the Federal Drug Administration in the United States of America approved Sildenafil for the use of treatment for erectile dysfunction. This happened on 27 March, 1998. On a later date in that same year, 1998, the very first branded version of Sildenafil, Viagra, became available for purchase.
The Crediting of the Discovery
In the United Kingdom, the British press claimed that Albert Wood and Peter Dunn had been the ones to discover this particular effect of Sildenafil. However, on the original patent that listed the composition of matter, there were only three individuals listed, and none of them were Albert Wood or Peter Dunn. These three chemists were David Brown, Nicholas Terret, and Andrew Bell.
Although they were chemists, they definitely were not pharmacists.
Individuals who are interested in Sildenafil and its effects should definitely talk with their pharmacist or doctor before they decide to take Sildenafil. Although it does help with erectile dysfunction, there are some side effects that could present themselves. Some of those side effects can indicate potentially life-threatening conditions. In addition, there are certain individuals that are allergic to some of the elements that can be found in Sildenafil.
The Wild Success of Sildenafil as a Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction
Despite the fact that Sildenafil is a pretty recent breakthrough in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, it proved to be resoundingly successful in the marketplaces. Pfizer created the now well-known brand Viagra. Their brand went for a very long time virtually unchallenged, mostly thanks to the patent that Pfizer had created. By 2008, Viagra had become a worldwide phenomenon, making well over two million dollars in profits.
However, in 2012, Pfizer’s patent for Sildenafil expired, and soon the market became flooded with lower cost, generally branded versions of Viagra. This forced them to lower the cost, and the impact on the brand has been high. Although Viagra used to claim the largest portion of the Sildenafil market in the past, their market share eventually dipped down to around fifty percent. This was due in part to the aforementioned generic brands, but there was also a rumour floating around that medications that suppressed PDE5 were causing vision loss in some patients.
However, that has not dampened the impact of Sildenafil today. Viagra still remains one of the top competitors in the market, and it is joined by a multitude of other brands. Sildenafil helped many men with their erectile dysfunction, and in doing so has even become a cultural reference. If you think Sildenafil is right for you, talk with your doctor and see the impact of Sildenafil for yourself.