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Fears of eye problems among users of Viagra.

UK HEALTH regulators have received reports of blindness among a handful of British men using the impotence drug Viagra, it was revealed yesterday.

The cases emerged after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it was investigating reports of eye problems among users of Viagra and the similar drug Cialis.

A director of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said a thorough review of possible side-effects was carried out three years ago, after warnings by doctors.

No causal link between Viagra use and eyesight problems was found, said Dr June Raine, the MHRA's director of post-licensing. The FDA said it had no evidence yet that the drug was to blame for the blindness experienced by some patients.

The FDA has 42 reports of the blindness, 38 among users of Viagra and four among users of Cialis.

The type of blindness involved is called Naion, or non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. It can occur in men who are diabetic or have heart disease, the same conditions that can cause impotence and thus lead to Viagra use.

Dr Raine told the BBC Radio 4 PM programme: 'We have had some reports but it is only six, so far, of eight adverse reactions associated with Viagra relating to blindness, four of optic neuropathy.

'You have to bear in mind, against that, that about 900,000 patients so far have received Viagra since it was licensed here in 1998.'

Dr Raine said that the issue of eye reactions associated with Viagra was kept under 'very careful review' on a Europe-wide basis
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 28, 2005
Words:260
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