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    Viagra: How Young Is Too Young?

    Optimizing Performance

    continued...

    Cook says Pfizer is opposed to Internet Viagra sales. "Our goal with any of our marketing is simply to reach men and encourage them to see a doctor," he says.

    It seems that Viagra can make sex better for women, too. Like the penis, the clitoris is erectile tissue -- spongy tissue that becomes engorged with blood during sexual excitement. By increasing blood flow to the clitoris, Viagra may heighten a woman's sensation and arousal. It also seems to increase vaginal lubrication.

    Murdock says many couples like to heat things up by splitting a dose of Viagra. "It's an interesting sexual situation," he says. The recommended dosage for men is up to 100 milligrams per day, and that seems to be just as safe for women. Young people may get results from a smaller dose: As little as 25 mg may be enough.

    The FDA has not approved Viagra for women, but Murdock says, "It's just a matter of time." He says he and other doctors who specialize in sexual medicine prescribe it to women, which is perfectly legal. Doctors are allowed to use their best judgment. Drug companies, however, can't advertise any use that isn't FDA-approved.

    The studies being done to test Viagra's safety and effectiveness in women have shown good results so far. "We're cautiously optimistic," Cook says.

    Martin F. Downs is a health writer in New York City. He was formerly an editor at CBS HealthWatch. He has also written for Health.com, Salon.com, and POZ magazine and is the editor of the Alicubi Journal (alicubi.com).

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    Reviewed on July 08, 2002

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