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Viagra test series canceled because of eleven dead babies


Trials with Viagra on pregnant women lead to the death of babies

Researchers from the Netherlands have now canceled their current study of Viagra because of the death of eleven babies related to the drug.

In a recent study, doctors gave sildenafil to pregnant women. The Viagra active ingredient should act as a kind of growth promoter. Unfortunately, there were several serious complications, which resulted in the death of eleven babies.

What does Viagra do?

As part of the study, pregnant women, whose placenta was underdeveloped in the womb and who were therefore highly likely to give birth prematurely, took the drug sildenafil, which is known under the brand name Viagra. Viagra is a well-known treatment for erectile dysfunction in men. It dilates the blood vessels. The drug is also prescribed to treat high blood pressure, experts say.

Viagra should promote blood flow in the placenta

The reason behind the current investigation was that Viagra would improve blood flow in the placenta and then promote the growth of the child, the scientists explain. This assumption was supported by experimental studies on laboratory rats.

Over 180 pregnant women participated in the study

The study was conducted in ten hospitals in the Netherlands. The subjects consisted of 93 pregnant women who received Viagra and a control group of 90 pregnant women. The participants from the control group only received a placebo. However, the investigation had to be stopped after an independent committee found that more babies from Viagra-taking mothers had lung problems after birth compared to babies born from mothers who were only given a placebo. Of the babies in the Viagra group, a total of 17 had lung problems after their birth. Eleven of these babies died later in the study, the doctors say. For comparison, only three babies from the control group developed lung problems and all affected babies survived, reports the English-language newspaper "The Guardian".

Another study found no particular risks

The study started in 2015 and should actually continue until 2020. Another study on Viagra as a growth-promoting drug in unborn babies was published in 2017. However, this investigation did not provide convincing evidence of effectiveness, nor did it reveal any risks for patients, the experts explain. Similar studies on the effects of Viagra on pregnant women have been conducted in the UK by the University of Liverpool and the University of Auckland. However, the results of these investigations were not really conclusive.

Effects of ingestion

The researchers believe the drug causes high blood pressure in the lungs. This probably led to an insufficient oxygen content in the deceased babies. A statement by Dutch doctors said that sildenafil could still be harmful to the baby after birth. The likelihood of lung blood vessel disease appears to be greater, and the likelihood of death after birth also appears to have increased, the researchers say.

An external investigation will probably be initiated

Although the research work should not be completed until 2020 if it had continued to be carried out properly, physicians now expect an external investigation to be initiated instead. (as)

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