Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Viagra for Children

My problem with this, is the statement: "The big advantage of Viagra, Adatia said, is it's easy to take and has few side effects."

We have no idea what types of side effects Viagra has in children since A.) it has not been studied in young people and B.) it has not even been thoroughly investigated in young animals.

I found a paper that looked at Sildenafil (Viagra) in rat pups, but the rats were treated and then immediately killed--there were no long term observations made about the animals' health or functioning. I found another paper that looked at "young" rats that were 3-months old. That's not really what I mean by looking at a rat model equivalent to giving a 4- or 5-year old a drug.

Nonetheless, one could argue that if a drug truly extends the life expectancy of these children, then the benefits outweigh the costs. If we are merely extending a child's life by treating one disease so that he or she is killed later on by another, drug-induced injury, however, I'm not sure the "benefits" truly outweigh the costs.

You should always think long and hard before you let your child have a drug that was designed for adult use. There's a reason why we don't give our babies alcohol and MSG--well, at least most of us don't.

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