Skip to main content
Select Source:

Viagra

VIAGRA

VIAGRA is the trademarked name for sildenafil citrate, a prescription drug created to counteract impotence by blocking an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5), which can end erections prematurely. After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted approval for Viagra on 27 March 1998, doctors prescribed the drug more than any other medicine in history over a two-year time span. Pfizer Inc., the maker of Viagra, uses celebrities such as former senator Bob Dole and baseball star Rafael Palmeiro to advertise directly to consumers, contributing to the $15.7 billion total spent in 2000 on pharmaceutical ads targeted toward ordinary people—instead of doctors.

James T.Scott

See alsoSexuality .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Viagra." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Viagra." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 14, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viagra

"Viagra." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved November 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viagra

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Viagra

Viagra (vy-ag-ră) n. see sildenafil.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Viagra." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Viagra." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 14, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viagra

"Viagra." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Retrieved November 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viagra

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Viagra

Viagrajarrah, para, Tara •abracadabra, Aldabra •Alhambra • Vanbrugh •Cassandra, Sandra •Aphra, Biafra •Niagara, pellagra, Viagra •bhangra, Ingres •Capra • Cleopatra •mantra, tantra, yantra •Basra •Asmara, Bukhara, carbonara, Carrara, cascara, Connemara, Damara, Ferrara, Gemara, Guadalajara, Guevara, Honiara, Lara, marinara, mascara, Nara, Sahara, Samara, samsara, samskara, shikara, Tamara, tiara, Varah, Zara •candelabra, macabre, sabra •Alexandra • Agra • fiacre •Chartres, Montmartre, Sartre, Sinatra, Sumatra •Shastra • Maharashtra • Le Havre •gurdwara •Berra, error, Ferrer, sierra, terror •zebra • ephedra • Porto Alegrebelles-lettres, Petra, raison d'être, tetra •Electra, plectra, spectra •Clytemnestra • extra •chèvre, Sèvres •Ezra

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Viagra." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Viagra." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 14, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viagra

"Viagra." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved November 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/viagra

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Viagra

Viagra

Viagra, a little blue pill made by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc., became the first oral medicine approved for male impotence by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Its approval in March 1998 set off a worldwide demand and sent Pfizer stock soaring. Hardly a day went by when newspapers, radio, and television did not have stories of the Viagra craze. The pill, which sold by prescription for about $10 apiece retail, was taken by men with sexual problems about an hour before they expected to have sexual activity. Their performance during the sex act improved dramatically. The drug, chemically named sildenafil, had been used unsuccessfully as a medicine for heart problems. When some heart patients reported to doctors they were getting erections after taking the pill, it was developed to treat sexual impotence.

Clinical studies of about 4,000 men with erectile dysfunction showed that up to 72 percent reported they had successful intercourse after using Viagra, against 23 percent of men who took a placebo. Viagra works by improving the blood flow to the penis. More specifically, it inhibits the effects of an enzyme that acts to reverse erections after sex. Before Viagra came along, men with erectile problems had to forego sex, rely on mechanical devices such as a small pump to produce an erection, have surgical penile implants, or inject medicines directly into the penis.

Once the Viagra craze spread, so did reports of problems associated with taking the pill. Some men reported problems with their vision, seeing green or blue. There were stories of dizziness and headaches or upset stomachs. Men with heart problems who took nitroglycerin or nitrates were warned not to use Viagra because it could act to reduce blood pressure. By late 1998, the Food and Drug Administration issued warnings that Viagra could be hazardous to some men with heart ailments, and that using the pill could lead to heart attacks or strokes. The drug watchdog agency said that although Viagra was still considered safe and effective, it posed potential problems for men with very high or very low blood pressure, so that patients should get careful examinations before taking the pill. The FDA also said that 130 reported deaths of men who had taken Viagra could not be attributed directly to the drug. The average age of those who died was 64 and many of the men who died had had serious health problems aggravated by sexual activity, which ended in heart attacks or strokes. "The people who died had underlying cardiovascular problems," Dr. Lisa Rarick, director of an FDA division, told reporters during late 1998. She added that men with heart problems should ask their doctors, "Is sex good for me?" Many of the men who died had impotence problems because of their medical conditions. By the time of the warning some six million prescriptions had been written for about three million men.

The underlying demand for Viagra could be linked to a major study, released in 1999 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, of the sexual habits of nearly 5,000 people, the largest such study since the report of biologist Alfred Kinsey some 50 years earlier. The new research revealed that sexual problems were widespread in the United States. On the basis of personal interviews with 1,749 women and 1,410 men, the research showed that about two out of five women and one out of three men had some forms of sexual dysfunction.

The clamor for Viagra in other countries spurred some swindlers to peddle pills made to look like Viagra. But cashing in on demands for a silver bullet to cure sex problems was not new. The search for a magic potion that could produce erections on demand has gone on for centuries, encouraging charlatans who sold bogus remedies to unwitting, desperate men. Among the miracle cures thus ballyhooed to have been miracle cures have been underwear electrified to stimulate the penis, rhinoceros horns pounded into powder, and tiger penises made into soups.

—Michael L. Posner

Further Reading:

Katzenstei, Larry. Viagra: The Potency Promise. New York, St.Martin's, 1998.

Vaughn, Susan C. Viagra: A Guide to the Phenomenal Potency-Promoting Drug. New York, Pocket Books, 1998.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Viagra." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Viagra." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 14, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/viagra

"Viagra." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. . Retrieved November 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/viagra

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.