Viagra and 'poppers' deadly combo

Health officials warn of danger using Viagra as recreational drug

The impotence drug Viagra is becoming popular at sex clubs, but health experts warn that mixing it with some other party drugs poses a serious health risk.

An Associated Press story on the impact of Viagra on the party scene in San Francisco reports it is common to use Viagra with party drugs such as Ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine.

Health officials say the risk is when Viagra is taken with amyl nitrites, known as "poppers." The danger with amyl nitrite in combination with Viagra is that it can result in a precipitous and deadly drop in blood pressure.

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, head of San Francisco's sexually transmitted disease unit, told AP reporters Kim Curtis and Margie Mason that Viagra is becoming increasingly popular as a recreational drug.

Klausner said an added danger of using Viagra as a recreational drug is that it encourages unprotected sex with a multitude of partners, increasing the danger of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

Klausner's study appeared earlier thjis month in the London-based journal AIDS.

Viagra over the Internet

Viagra is supposed to be available only by prescription, for about $15 a capsule, but it is increasingly available over the Internet. Capsules then are resold, with a street value of $30-40 a capsule.

Geoff Cook, a spokesman for Pfizer Inc., the makers of Viagra, has said, "We were opposed to be recreational use of Viagra from day one." He said Viagra is marketed for men 40 and older who have erectile difficulties.

Pfizer introduced Viagra in 1998. The drug now earns the company some $1.2 billion (US) a year.