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What Did Pfizer’s Researchers Hope to do with Sildenafil?

Q: I know that Pfizer is the pharmaceutical company that developed Viagra back in the 1990s, but I heard that the drug’s active ingredient wasn’t originally envisioned as a treatment for ED. What did Pfizer’s researchers hope to do with sildenafil?

A: Originally synthesized by a team of pharmaceutical scientists at Pfizer’s research laboratory in Sandwich, England, sildenafil citrate was code-named UK-92480. Members of the research team, which included Andrew Bell, David Brown, and Nicholas Terrett, hoped that the compound could be used to relieve the chest pain of angina pectoris and also bring down high blood pressure that was unresponsive to other drugs.

During trials, they were unimpressed by the drug’s ability to achieve the hoped-for goals, but they noticed a surprising side effect among male study participants. Those given the drug suddenly found it very easy to get and keep an erection.

This was also observed in some men who had previously experienced serious erection problems. Shortly thereafter, the Pfizer research team scrapped the study of the drug for treating angina and high blood pressure and began a study to see how effectively sildenafil-treated erectile dysfunction.

Clinical trials were encouraging, and Pfizer soon began petitioning drug regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for permission to market the drug as a treatment for ED.

About the Author

Mark Delano is the Managing Editor and handles all day to day operations for HealthyMale.com. He is a personal fitness trainer, nutritionist and avid mountain biker who also enjoys exploring the trails of Arizona. Besides his everyday duties at HealthyMale, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men's health.