The Link between Viagra and Melanoma Skin Cancer

Since its debut, millions of men have used Viagra to help with one of their most personal health issues. They have trusted that it will help them with their problem without causing undue harm. But, it seems they may have missed placed their trust. Several studies have revealed a possible link between use of Viagra and melanoma skin cancer.

What is Viagra?

In the early 1990s, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer tested sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, to help treat heart conditions such as high blood pressure and angina. The drug proved ineffective in treating those conditions. But, data collected showed it had potential treating erectile dysfunction (ED).

ED is a medical condition that affects men’s ability to have or maintain an erection sufficient enough to achieve sexual satisfaction. Aging and other physical and psychological conditions are the causes of ED. It affects millions of men. 

Seeing the new potential for the drug, Pfizer began testing it to treat ED. In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug’s use as an ED medication. Since then, millions of men affected by ED have been prescribed Viagra. It is one of the most well-known medications.

Known Viagra Complications and Side Effects

As popular as Viagra may seem, it has not been without its problems. When first released, Pfizer warned consumers about common side effects of Viagra, like other medications. But, it was not long before more serious side effects became noticeable. Within a year of its release, evidence of Viagra causing heart attacks and strokes in some men was reported. This led to the FDA requesting that Pfizer change its warning label to notify all consumers of the potentially serious side effect. In 2005, the FDA requested another change as many men filed claims that Viagra caused sudden vision loss. Then, in 2007, men started reporting the use of Viagra causing them a sudden hearing loss. The FDA requested another warning label change by the company.

Viagra and Melanoma

Melanoma is a skin cancer which occurs in the pigment cells (melanocytes). Melanoma is rare but deadly. About 76,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma each year.  Nearly 10,000 reportedly died from the disease.

In 2014, the JAMA International Medicine released a study claiming a possible link between the usage of Viagra and melanoma. The link is the enzyme PDE5A found in smooth muscle tissue throughout the body. Viagra works to inhibit the production of PDE5A as it plays a role in erectile dysfunction. But, recent research has shown that melanoma cancer cells may be more likely to metastasize and be more invasive when levels of PDE5A are low in the body. So, while Viagra may not cause melanoma it could make it worse if it occurs in a Viagra user.

Viagra Lawsuit

Many men who have used Viagra in the past and later developed melanoma are speaking out and seeking justice from the drug’s manufacturer, Pfizer. They have sought legal representation to help show that Pfizer has acted negligently by not warning users about the possible link to melanoma cancer. They hope to hold the manufacturer accountable will receive compensation for their injuries.

If you have taken Viagra and developed melanoma, you could be eligible for compensation. Contact our experienced attorneys for a school sufficient free evaluation of your situation.