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Viagra impotency drug to swell Slovak drugstore shelves

Slovak men who have difficulty getting erections will soon be trying to get a lift from a new American wonder drug called Viagra. The small blue pill, already on sale in the US since 1997, takes deadly aim at one of the biggest male fears - impotence.
Patrick Machan, country director for American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, which makes Viagra, told The Slovak Spectator on September 24 that his company had just submitted final EU certification documents to the Slovak state Department of Drug Registration. If all went well, he said, Viagra could be in Slovak stores just in time for Christmas.
Machan said that the process of securing certification for Viagra in Slovakia had been long and arduous, despite the fact that the drug has been approved in all EU countries. "The state has had the analysis file for Viagra since November 1997, but they haven't done anything until just now."


Wonder drug. Viagra looks set to revive Slovak manhood.
Courtesy of Pfizer

Slovak men who have difficulty getting erections will soon be trying to get a lift from a new American wonder drug called Viagra. The small blue pill, already on sale in the US since 1997, takes deadly aim at one of the biggest male fears - impotence.

Patrick Machan, country director for American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, which makes Viagra, told The Slovak Spectator on September 24 that his company had just submitted final EU certification documents to the Slovak state Department of Drug Registration. If all went well, he said, Viagra could be in Slovak stores just in time for Christmas.

Machan said that the process of securing certification for Viagra in Slovakia had been long and arduous, despite the fact that the drug has been approved in all EU countries. "The state has had the analysis file for Viagra since November 1997, but they haven't done anything until just now."

According to Pfizer's forecast, which is based on the percentage of men suffering impotence problems in the United States, Viagra's Slovak target group will be enormous. 440,000 Slovak men aged 35 to 70, the company predicts, will want a prescription. Despite the high numbers, Machan couldn't be sure whether Slovakia would experience a similar boom as in the United States, where 350,000 prescriptions were issued during the first month.

How Viagra works

"This medicine allows men to get back to an active sexual life, which is a part of normal life," said Ján Vrabec, an Health Ministry sexologist, adding that Viagra should be available here by the beginning of next year. Vrabec's ministry is in charge of evaluating the drug in Slovakia.

But Machan warned that Vrabec's enthusiasm should be taken with a pinch of salt. "Viagra works only for those patients who suffer from erectile dysfunction," he said. "It does not increase libido."

Machan went on to explain that Viagra was not an aphrodisiac, and could be a bitter disappointment to those patients whose sexual impotence was not due to erectile problems alone.

"Viagra simply enhances the blood flow down into the penis, resulting in an erection"agreed James Regan, urologist at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington.

But other medical specialists say that the physiological response is not the only part of Viagra's effects. Eileen Palace, of Tulane University Medical Center, is convinced that sexual response comprises two elements. "It is the physiological part, such as the blood flow, but also the cognitive, that is, the thoughts, the feelings and the expectations the patient has," she said.

Since the drug's launch last year, specialists around the world have debated whether Viagra was really a drug or just something that made life more pleasant. "It is both," said Vrabec, adding that one thing naturally supported the other. "However, we should realise that the failure of vein supply in men can have different reasons," he said.

Viagra is not going to help just older men. Currently, in Slovakia, about 10% of men aged between 20 and 30 have problems with potency. Negative environmental influences cause that every fifth man over 50 has to consult a sexologist. Vrabec is convinced that the most important thing for doctors is that they do not prescribe Viagra regularly. "This would devalue the medicine," he said, and added that other drugs existed to treat the condition, but must be administered by injection.

Patients queueing up for Viagra may often suffer from a host of serious health problems, such as capillary problems, nervous illnesses, hormonal breakdowns and psychic ailments. Taking into account all these possible variables, Vrabec said, Viagra cannot be expected to solve every single case. "We can't say the medicine will cover everything. It must be preceded by complete physical examination," he said.

Another cause of impotence is the so called 'business syndrome'. This happens to so called 'workaholics' who take their jobs too seriously and gradulally loose their interest in sex. "This type of patient cannot be healed just by taking Viagra. They would have to change their lifestyle as well," said Vrabec.

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