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Study Finds No Link Between Viagra, Optic Neuropathy

Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy incidence similar in sildenafil users and general population

WEDNESDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who use sildenafil (Viagra) are no more likely than patients in the general population to develop nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, according to Pfizer-conducted research presented at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in Atlanta.

Rachel E. Sobel, M.P.H., of Pfizer Inc. in New York City, and colleagues compared the incidence of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) in the general population with NAION in 103 trials of the drug conducted by Pfizer, in another Pfizer study of more than 3,800 European men taking the drug, and an independent study of 28,000 men enrolled in the U.K. National Health Service.

The researchers found that data on more than 13,400 men in the Pfizer trials showed no cases of NAION. There was one case of NAION in the U.K. study. Thus, the incidence of NAION is 2.8 per 100,000 patient-years, and its incidence in older men in the general population is 2.5 to 11.8 per 100,000 in men 50 years of age or older, the results indicate.

"With approximately 52,000 patient-years of observation to date, sildenafil is the most extensively studied phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitor," the authors write. "The incidence of NAION among carefully monitored patients receiving sildenafil was similar to that which has been reported to occur in the general population."

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