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11 Babies Dead In Drug Trial That Gave Viagra To Pregnant Women

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A drug trial that gave sildenafil, more commonly known as Viagra, to pregnant women came to an abrupt end after experiment resulted in the deaths of 11 babies.

Viagra dilates a person's blood vessels, which makes it easier for blood to reach places where it is needed. This characteristic has made the drug useful in addressing erectile dysfunction, but unfortunately, speculations that it could also help mothers with underdeveloped placentas ended in tragedy.

Viagra Drug Trial Gone Wrong

The research, led by Amsterdam University Medical Centre, was carried out at 10 hospitals across the Netherlands to test if Viagra will help pregnant women with underperforming placentas. Experiments on rats raised the possibility that Viagra will promote better blood flow to the placenta.

The pregnant women who participated in the study were all carrying babies who were showing limited growth inside the womb. This made the prognosis of the children, given a lack of available therapy, as poor.

There were about 183 women involved in the drug trial, and 93 of them were given Viagra. Out of the babies that the women gave birth to, 17 were found to have developed lung problems, with 11 dying as a result. It was theorized that Viagra may have led to high blood pressure among the babies, restricting the flow of blood and oxygen to their lungs.

In comparison, out of the 90 women who took placebos as part of the drug trial, only three babies were born with similar lung issues. No babies died due to conditions linked to Viagra, though nine did pass away due to unrelated problems.

However, according to Amsterdam UMC spokesperson Marc van den Broek, all the pregnant women in the study were facing very low birthrate, with their children to be placed in intensive care after being born.

Meanwhile, for about 10 to 15 women, they are still waiting for results if the health of their children were affected by the Viagra drug trial.

The drug trials, which started in 2015 and were slated to run until 2020 with 350 pregnant women participating, have been suspended.

Other Uses Of Viagra

Viagra has been the subject of studies for other applications beyond treating erectile dysfunction. The drug is believed to grant heart attack patients with a longer life and also help with preventing cancer. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that Viagra set the stage for men around the world to open up to their doctors about reproductive health issues.

Unfortunately, the drug's potential application in helping pregnant women turned out to be a disaster.

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