The blue pill turns 20


  • Putting Dr G On The Spot
  • Sunday, 25 Mar 2018

Dear Dr. G,

I am a middle-aged man who is feeling a bit "deflated" in the bedroom.

I confess in the last two years, I have become lazy and neglected my health in a big way. I gained about 10kg of weight mainly due to lacking in exercise and poor eating habits.

In the last three years, my sexual appetite has decreased dramatically. Even on the rare occasions I experience the urge to have sex, I can rise to the occasion, but sadly the "rising" never seems to hold up till the end of the occasion.

I used to accept this is the HARD fact of aging, and the bedroom business will need to come to a graceful end. However, my wife and I do miss the intimacy of our sexual relations. I finally built up my courage to go and see the doctors!

As expected, the specialist told me I live a sedentary lifestyle resulting in overweight, hypertensive, high cholesterol and the lots. I was persuaded to lose weight, exercise and live healthily to get my sex life back!

Don't get me wrong, I did try (for a couple of weeks), but the workout is simply not working out. After all, I am in my sixties. The thought that the only way to get a hard on is to get on the treadmill is HARD on me, and it makes my spirit WILT!

I visited the doctors again and convinced him to let me try some blue pills. Truthfully, my wife and I have been contemplating the thoughts of taking pill for sex. At first, we thought it is not natural. Besides, my wife is worried about the side effects.

Bearing in mind my age, I really would like to put Dr. G on the spot again for the quick remedy for middle-aged men like me with erectile dysfunction!

I would like to know whether blue pills have been vigorously tested since its introduction? Are they addictive? When I start taking them, does it I am dependent on the medication for life?

I really hope Dr. G can give me some guide to the "shortcut" way of getting an erection without any shortcoming!

Regards,

John

 

The inability of men to gain and sustain penile erection for satisfactorily sexual intercourse has been well documented for centuries by many civilisations. From the curse of the witchery to childhood excessive masturbation, many causes have been associated with the inability of men to perform in the bedroom! Naturally this ego-denting subject has generated fear, guilt and taboo in most men who fail to rise to the occasion.

Believe it or not, twenty years ago almost to the day, marked the transformation of the failing shades of grey to the rise and shine of true blues in many couples' sexual lives. Although the drug was patented in 1996, it was only approved as the oral treatment for men with erectile dysfunction on March 27, 1998.

The drug that is well known as the "accidental blockbuster", indeed was a simple compound which did not even have a real name (UK-92,480.). Sildenafil was synthesised in Kent, and subsequently studied for men with high blood pressure and angina in Swansea, Wales.

As the drug clearly did not have an impact on the heart but causes other HARD side effect instead, the decision of "drug-repositioning" was seriously considered.

Despite the efficacious impact of sildenafil on erection, the drug-maker was initially contemplating abandoning the registration, fearful of the moral and ethical issues surrounding a "sex-pill". Thankfully, the decision to go ahead marketing the blue pills not only transformed many couples' lives, but with peak annual sales of nearly US$2bil per annum, the blue diamonds were appropriately dubbed as the "Pfizer-riser" in 2008!

The subject of sexual health has made a quantum leap in research and development since 1998.

The derogative terminology of "impotency" has changed to the "medicalisation" of Erectile Dysfunction. Instead of blaming the wilting manhood on the anxious minds, researchers have also identified the true etiology of ED associated with hypertension, diabetes, smoking and obesity. Although many men have been encouraged to improve their lifestyles, many would still prefer to have a shortcut taking the "magic tablets" to create the magical moments!

The wealth of data provided by two decades of post-marketing surveillance has given the safety assurance of the treatment.

In addition to the blue pills, other medications from the same class of PDE5-I, such as tadalafil, vardenafil and udenafil all demonstrated similar standards of safety.

There are severe side effects of priaprism (prolonged erections that is undesirable) and heart attacks documented by the authority. However, such risk is almost non-existent if the medications are consumed with proper guidance from clinicians.

My favourite American writer and humorist, Mark Twain once said: "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter!"

When it comes to sex (or the lack of it), as age progresses the ability to get hard enough erection is surely diminishing. If you don't mind not having sex again, then it doesn't matter. Dr. G is constantly put on the spot on the big questions of the necessity, ethical acceptability and safety of taking a pill for the enhancement of sexual performance.

With millions of couples' sex lives enhanced by the blue diamonds, there are also others who are fearful to try. As we venture into the next two decades of transformation of sexual health, I leave you with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: "We must accept the finite disappointment, but never lose the infinite hope!" On that note, wishing a Hardpy 20th Birthday to the Blue Diamond!

 


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Dr George Lee

Dr George Lee

Dr George Lee is a consultant Urologist and Clinical Associate Professor whose professional interest is in men’s health. The column “Ask Dr G” is a forum to help men debunk the myths and taboos on men’s issues that may be too “hard” to mention. You can send him questions at askdrg@thestar.com.my

   

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