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The Next Viagra?

Uprima was supposed to be the next hot drug for erectile dysfunction. What happened?

Same Ends, Different Means continued...

The underlying cause of erectile dysfunction may also play a part in choosing a drug. Because Viagra acts at the level of the tissues, it may be more effective in the 50% of patients whose problem is caused by a vascular disease (such as diabetes), says John Morley, MD, a professor of medicine at the St. Louis University School of Medicine. Uprima, on the other hand, works in the pathways of the brain that control anxiety, so it could be more helpful for the 10% to 15% of patients whose erection problems stem from performance anxiety, says Morley.

If Uprima does get the FDA's nod, many experts think the best treatment choice may be to combine Uprima and Viagra for a synergistic effect. This "erection cocktail" has been tested so far only in animals, with some success, but will not be used in humans until further studies are performed.

As for John Doe, he says Uprima "saved" him from "having to just accept the fact that my [sex] life was going to have to slow down." Will other guys find the same happy ending? That remains to be seen.

Todd Zwillich is a freelance journalist living in Washington, D.C. He has covered health care politics and medicine for International Medical News Group and Science magazine.

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