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Can Viagra Lead To Blindness?

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Viagra maker Pfizer Inc. is in discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about a label revision for the drug. Rare cases of blindness have been reported in relation to the drug.

The FDA hasn’t found any evidence yet that Viagra is the cause, but it has identified 50 cases of varying degrees of blindess occuring in men with heart disease and/or diabetes.

Can Viagra Lead To Blindness?

“It’s an extraordinarily rare complication – perhaps of the underlying condition that the patient has,” said Deutsche Bank Securities analyst Barbara Ryan. “I don’t personally think it’s that significant.”

This particular blindness condition is called non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), and is caused when eye nerves stop receiving blood flow potentially causing permanent loss of sight. According to MarketWatch,

Viagra, approved by the FDA in 1998, works by helping to regulate blood flow. The drug’s label already warns of certain cardiac risks and vision problems, such as blurred vision and sensitivity to light.

Rumors that Viagra could cause blindness in some users have circulated for months. In late March, a group of ophthalmologists at the University of Minnesota Medical School published a review of 14 such cases in the March edition of the Journal of Neuro-ophthalmology.

Currently, Viagra’s label warns of a potential increase in sensitivity to light or blurred vision. It also mentions past reports of increased intraocular pressure, retinal vascular disease and other eye problems.

Viagra has also been in the news recently for another reason. Convicted sex offenders have been getting Viagra and other erectiledysfunction drugs from Medicaid. Lawmakers are now in the process of putting an end to this.

Medicaid spends an estimated $38 million a year on these drugs. All but $2 million of this money is on Viagra itself. ”We live in a world of limited resources, and those dollars could be spent more wisely,” said chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Charles E. Grassley.

New York Governor George Pataki has already cut all public funding for the drugs and has proposed that legislation allow the state to target only the convicted sex offenders. Pfizer shares fell nearly 3% to $28.10 in early trade today.

Chris is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

Can Viagra Lead To Blindness?
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