Print 27 comment(s) - last by Wiredog.. on Aug 17 at 1:43 PM

  (Source: Wordpress)
The FDA meets today to discuss the pill's effectiveness

Children with a rare lung disorder, called pulmonary arterial hypertension, may begin taking Pfizer Inc.'s drug Viagra in order to treat blood pressure-related problems associated with the disorder. 

Viagra is a drug normally used for erectile dysfunction and also helps adults with pulmonary arterial hypertension gain the ability to exercise by relaxing the arterial wall, which leads to decreased pulmonary arterial pressure and resistance. It blocks an enzyme that regulates flow in the penis and lungs.

This medication works for pulmonary arterial hypertension because what this disorder does is increase the blood pressure in the pulmonary vein, artery or capillaries leading to fainting, dizziness and shortness of breath. It causes the right side of the heart to work harder, and Viagra releases this pressure.

U.S. regulators are looking for a way to test whether Viagra would be okay for children. Advisors to the Food and Drug Administration will meet July 29 to discuss this matter and see if Pfizer's study on the pill's effectiveness on children is "sufficient."

Pfizer conducted a study that consisted of 234 children who took Viagra. In most studies of adults with the disorder, they are asked to perform exercise tests. However, this was much too difficult for the children, so a different test where a catheter is inserted through the arteries (which measures blood flow) was conducted instead. This alternative test proved that the drug failed to show any differences when the children tried regular exercise tests, but when researchers used the alternative measure of blood flow, Viagra did prove to be beneficial. 

"It's a good option in pediatric patients because it is well-tolerated, in that it doesn't have as many side effects as some of the other options," said Chad Knoderer, a pediatric clinical pharmacist at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, who has used Viagra for children with the disorder before.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension affects 600 people a year, and if Pfizer meets FDA requirements, the drug will be on the market an extra six months without generic competition. The patent for the drug is expected to expire in 2012. 

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Child with PPH and pulmonary atresia
By Strawberree on 7/29/2010 5:59:00 PM , Rating: 3
My infant daughter has been on Viagra for nearly a month due to pulmonary hypertension after a repair of her cardiac defect. While I am very grateful for the medicine, which showed an immediate improvement in her pulmonary pressures, I am very disappointed by how artificially expensive her medicine is. I cannot believe how expensive it is, and that Pfizer is making a killing off of my insurance company. There needs to be a generic version of this drug, particularly for children!

By Wiredog on 8/17/2010 1:43:18 PM , Rating: 2
God bless you. My son had PAH and was on sildenafil citrate (Viagra) for the majority of the 2.5 years he survived after diagnosis. As you can see from the other comments, many do not understand what the medication was originally meant for (smooth muscle dilator) and will make all sorts of rude comments.

I will continue to pray for your daughter and all other children with PAH. We must find a cure so no other mother or father has to go through what we have.

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