Pharmaceutical

A generic drug that works just like Viagra may carry the same risks

Viagra single pack A generic drug that works just like Viagra may carry the same risksThe Inquisitr encourages men who might be tempted by the discounted prices of online pharmacies selling “generic” to consider purchasing generic instead. The site explains that a legal version of generic Viagra is not available in the United States and won’t be until December of 2017.

At that time, Teva, which is the only company approved by the FDA to make and sell generic Viagra, known as citrate, will begin selling the drug in the U.S.; it has already been selling it in Europe since 2013. In the meantime, drugs purporting to be generic Viagra are often counterfeit and hold a variety of risks from simply being less effective to containing harmful substances.

Brand name Viagra is manufactured by . The article goes on to tell men who want to save money on the erectile dysfunction drug, which can cost $38 for a single dose and is often not covered by insurance, about another drug besides Viagra that is also manufactured by Pfizer.

According to the Inquisitr sildenafil citrate is the active ingredient of Revatio, prescribed to treat pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure of the lungs. The generic of this drug is legal for prescription in the U.S. under the name sildenafil and much, much cheaper than Viagra. A 50 milligram dose, which would be two and a half pills and is the equivalent of one Viagra pill, could cost as little as $5.

“Since sildenafil by any other name is still sildenafil, the results should be the same,” Consumer Reports‘ medical adviser Marvin Lipman told the magazine in a 2016 interview. The only significant difference between a generic Revatio pill and brand-name Viagra, according to that 2016 Consumer Reports article, is the dose per pill, said the Inquisitr.

However, that would mean generic Revatio would not only have the same results but also the same risks as Viagra. Sildenafil has been linked to increased risk of the most deadly form of skin cancer, .

Scientists all over the world have been looking into the effects of sildenafil as a PDE5 inhibitor on melanoma growth. In March 2016 German biochemists published findings that this class of drugs opens up the signaling pathways that melanoma uses and may lead the cancer to “grow more vigorously.” In 2014 researchers in the U.S. in a 10 year followup study of 25,848 men found an 84 percent increased chance of developing melanoma in men who take sildenafil. In 2015 Swedish researchers had similar results finding the use of PDE5 inhibitors associated with a statistically significant increased risk of malignant melanoma.

As of June 2016, the FDA began evaluating the need for regulatory action regarding PDE5 inhibitors in relation to their connection to skin cancer. Revatio is on the list of drugs being evaluated along with, Adcirca, , Levitra, Staxyn, Stendra, and Viagra.

Nearly three hundred federal have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of against the manufacturer of Viagra, and now Cialis as well. It remains to be seen if suits against any of the other drug manufacturers will be transferred into this litigation.

“As a direct, proximate and legal result of Pfizer’s negligence and wrongful conduct, and the unreasonably dangerous and defective characteristics of the drug Viagra, individual plaintiffs suffered severe and permanent physical and emotional injuries. These physical injuries have included melanoma as well as the resulting treatment and surgeries necessitated by the skin cancer diagnosis,” the master complaint says, according to Law360.

Sources:
The Inquisitr
Cell Reports
Cancer Connect
U.S. National Library of Medicine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Righting Injustice
Righting Injustice