Viagra Melanoma

Connection between Melanoma and Viagra Found

Viagra Side Effects MelanomaSince being approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998, Viagra (sildenafil) has been popularly regarded as a miracle drug for men with erectile dysfunction (ED). The drug has provided many with an effective – if expensive – solution to this problem which often occurs in aging men. For many men, however, Viagra has proved a nightmare, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and vision and hearing loss. Now a study has found that a link exists between melanoma cancer and this “miracle drug.”

Viagra causes skin cancer The drug company Pfizer has made billions of dollars from Viagra. Initially, Viagra was the only such medication on the market, and millions of frustrated men were willing to pay the very high price per pill. Eventually the drug was made available online with a prescription. Pfizer seemed to have found its proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, there was one problem: the company failed to provide warnings on the packaging of certain potentially dangerous side-effects, including melanoma.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2012 found that men who used the erection – enhancing drug  Viagra (sildenafil) were 84% more likely to develop melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, over a period of 10 years.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and melanoma is the deadliest form of the disease. According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, melanoma is usually, but not always, a cancer of the skin that begins in melanocytes, which are pigment-producing cells in the skin that synthesize melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Melanocytes are the cells responsible for the formation of moles, within which melanoma often develops. Rarely, melanoma can develop in mucus membranes or eyes, rather than the skin.

Whether a similar connection might exist between other erectile dysfunction drugs and melanoma isn’t known. In 2000, when the study was started, Viagra was the only erectile dysfunction drug on the market. Cialis ( tadalafil ) and Levitra ( vardenafil ) weren’t approved until 2003, but Stendra (avanafil) and Staxyn (vardenafil) subsequently were approved and placed on the market.

Since that time, studies have also shown that Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) drugs, Revatio and Adcirca also carry an increased melanoma risk among patients. These drugs are commonly used to treat Fen-Phen side effects like PAH.

What Is Melanoma?

While it is relatively rare, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma can strike at any age, although continued exposure to the sun and genetics play a central role in its development. If detected early, melanoma is usually treatable. However, many people ignore symptoms until it is too late. For anyone concerned about a mole turning cancerous, you should see a doctor if any of the following is noted:

  • The mole grows or changes in appearance.
  • The mole is larger than 6mm.
  • The mole changes color or becomes sore.
  • The mole is asymmetrical.

Levitra causes skin melanomaOlder men run a greater risk of contracting melanoma than younger ones. This is at least in part because this cancer often builds over time with sun exposure. Each year 10,000 Americans die from melanoma, with 76,000 diagnosed with the disease.

Harvard Medical School Researchers Find Increased Melanoma Risk Among Viagra Users

Until April of 2014, however, no study had drawn a link between melanoma and Viagra. Harvard Medical School researchers conducted a study beginning in 2010 tracking 25,848 men who reported that they suffered from ED. For the study researchers interviewed these subjects for the following:

  • Their sexual health
  • Use of Viagra
  • History of sun exposure
  • Their risk of skin cancer based on genetics
  • History of any moles, especially those that appeared later, changed color, or grew
  • Their hair and eye color

Over the next ten years these men were questioned about their use of Viagra, and when cancers arose researchers took note. A control group of men who did not use Viagra was used, and the results were quite alarming. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that the incidence of melanoma in men who used Viagra was roughly double that of men who did not. Other cancers that were tracked, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC), however, did not show a higher incidence.

“The people who were taking Viagra were at increased risk for melanoma type skin cancer compared to those who were not,” said Dr. Allan Halpern, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

What The Study Shows

Viagra (Sildenafil) works by inhibiting phosphodiesterase, the result of which is that melanoma cells become more invasive. This does not mean, however, that Viagra causes skin cancer, simply that the risk of melanoma doubles in Viagra users, and the melanoma tends to be more invasive. While you should be mindful that the risk of melanoma doubled for Viagra users in the study, you should keep in mind that the incidence of melanoma is still small, averaging 4.3 cases per 1,000 men.

The 3 other brand name ED drugs that are phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, Cialis (tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Stendra (avanafil) are probably associated with an increased risk of melanoma skin cancer, too.

Cialis is also prescribed sometimes when doctors see the signs and symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

How To Proceed With A Viagra Side Effect Claim

CialisContact the experienced and successful defective drug attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP, if you or a loved one has used Viagra and subsequently developed melanoma. Our attorneys have pursued defective drug and medical device claims against the world’s biggest manufacturers. Best of all, we never collect a fee for our services, unless a recovery is made. Call 1-800-718-4658 today for a free consultation with a Viagra Melanoma Claims Specialist. If you prefer, you can also request a free consultation by completing the contact form on this page.

Nadrich & Cohen, LLP lawyers represents people in personal injury after using one or more of these drugs:

  • Viagra (sildenafil)
  • Cialis (tadalafil)
  • Levitra (vardenafil)
  • Staxyn (vardenafil)
  • Stendra (avanafil)
  • Revatio (sildenafil)
  • Adcirca (tadalafil)