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Viagra® May be Causing Melanoma in Patients


Many patients who were prescribed medication to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) were subsequently diagnosed with melanoma, prompting many to file claims in the Viagra® lawsuit. Approved by the FDA in 1998 to treat ED, Viagra® quickly became one of the most popular drugs on the market and is one of Pfizer’s best-selling products. Since the drug’s release, Pfizer has been named in countless lawsuits by patients who experienced dangerous side effects. Early claims were centered around patients who experienced heart attack or stroke caused by sudden drops in blood pressure from the drug. Following those claims, patients began suffering hearing and vision loss while being prescribed Viagra®.

Viagra pills
Studies have found a connection between Viagra® and many side effects, most recently melanoma.

More recent research has found that patients taking Viagra® may be at a greater risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with melanoma after being prescribed Viagra®,  contact a pharmaceutical attorney for a case evaluation. Our legal team can advise you on the history of litigation and the current status of the lawsuit.

Melanoma: The Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer

Melanoma, dubbed the deadliest form of skin cancer, is a malignant tumor that forms within melanin-forming cells known as melanocytes. Melanin is responsible for giving skin its pigment and providing protection for deeper layers of the skin from the sun. Sun exposure causes an increase of melanin-production by the melanocyte cells, resulting in a tanned or darkened skin tone. Melanoma tumors typically appear brown or black, however, they may also look pink, tan, or even white in color. These tumors can occur anywhere on the body, but are most likely to form on the chest or back in men. Melanoma is the most rare form of skin cancer, but because of its ability to spread to other areas of the body, it is also the most dangerous.

Early Detection and Survival Rates

Viagra® is most commonly prescribed to men over the age of 50, which is also the age group with the greatest risk of developing melanoma. Melanoma survival rates vary based on the stage in which the cancer is identified. When caught in the earliest stages, the survival rate can be as high as 92 to 99 percent. However, if the cancer has metastasized and spread to other areas of the body, survival rates can be as low as 15 to 20 percent.

Treatment Options for Melanoma

Melanoma treatments may include skin biopsies, surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. Surgery is the preferred method of treatment when the condition is caught in the earliest stages. Other treatment options may also include participation in clinical trials, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Chemotherapy is typically recommended for later-stage melanoma. Regardless of the stage and specific treatment, medical expenses can add up quickly. A one-year supply of chemotherapy medication to treat melanoma can cost more than $30,000. Additionally, chemotherapy and radiation may also cause an extensive list of troubling side effects.

If you have been injured by a defective drug, Speak with an Attorney

Other Serious Side Effects of Viagra®

In addition to the potential link to melanoma, Viagra® can also cause other severe side effects, including:

  • Sudden partial or total vision loss in one or both eyes
  • Sudden hearing impairment or total hearing loss
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Rash
  • Blurred vision
  • Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears
  • Fainting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Painful erections lasting more than four hours

More moderate side effects associated with the drug include headaches, gastrointestinal issues, trouble sleeping, numbness or tingling in the limbs, and pain in the muscles.

Studies Linking Viagra® and Melanoma

In June 2014, JAMA Internal Medicine published a study that found that men who took Viagra® were developing melanoma at a significantly increased rate when compared to people who were not taking the drug. In the study of nearly 26,000 men over a 10-year period, researchers found a correlation of an 84 percent increased risk for melanoma. While the study took other risk factors into account, including genetics and sun exposure, their findings indicated that further research is needed to explore the link.

Schedule a Consultation

Melanoma is a serious, life-threatening cancer that can place extreme hardship on patients and their families. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with melanoma after taking Viagra®, you may be entitled to compensation for your financial and emotional suffering. Contact a pharmaceutical attorney today to schedule your complimentary case evaluation.

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