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Study Examines Whether Viagra Has Another Use
Aired July 1, 2003 - 19:25 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR: Want to talk about some medical news for a moment. A new use for Viagra.
The tiny blue pill is already the drug of choice for thousands of men looking to jump start their love life, if you will. But a new study shows Viagra could also help patients with pulmonary hypertension.
Joining me now to talk more, Dr. Richard Stein, associate chair at Beth Israel Medical Center and national spokesman for the AMA.
Thanks very much for being with us.
How does this work? I mean, how is it this might help hypertension?
DR. RICHARD STEIN, ASSOC. CHAIR, BETH ISRAEL MEDICAL CENTER: The pulmonary hypertension is not common but a very bad condition where the artilleries supplying blood to the lungs are narrowed, the pressure is very high, and frankly you just can't get enough blood to the lungs to be pumped out to the body. And this is because the muscles around the arteries are clamped down on the vessels themselves.
COOPER: And that's the thing about Viagra, it's well-known for increasing the blood flow.
STEIN: It opens up these muscles and it allows the increase of blood flow. It obviously does it for your sexual organs and improves your sex life, but the second group of tissues that actually seems to do the same thing are the blood vessels in the lungs.
COOPER: Now, this is a very early study. It's very small; 14 people involved in this thing. What more needs to be known? I mean, should people run out and suddenly start -- if they have hypertension and suddenly think Viagra is the solution?
STEIN: Well, it's not hypertension. Absolutely not. This is not hypertension. This is pulmonary hypertension. It's a much smaller condition. And it's certainly something physicians, I think, will watch carefully and learn about. I think there will be better studies to tell us how much to use, how long it lasts.
And I think we'll, you know, we'll see that this will be a class of drugs that affects the endothelium, the thin vessels, the cells that line our blood vessels, that will offer hope for these patients.
COOPER: Hope down the road, perhaps.
COOPER: All right. Dr. Richard Stein, thanks for being with us.
STEIN: My pleasure.
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