Viagra & Melanoma

Men Who Took Viagra and Developed Melanoma Skin Cancer May Have Lawsuit

When you think of Viagra, you probably picture Pfizer's upbeat commercials showing middle-aged men with their loved ones walking beaches, riding motorcycles, playing in bands, kayaking and, in general, aging vibrantly. According to Pfizer, all this is possible because of the "little blue pill" that helps these men overcome erectile dysfunction (ED).

However, it turns out the little blue pill may also come with a serious risk. According to a recent Harvard study, men taking Viagra have an 84% higher risk of developing malignant melanoma within 10 years.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, since it has the ability to spread beyond the skin, to lymph nodes and internal organs.

If you or a loved one suffered melanoma and have taken Viagra, you may be entitled to compensation. Click here to contact a North Carolina lawyer about your Viagra claim.

The Facts About Viagra

Viagra (sildenafil) is manufactured by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. It received FDA approval in 1998 and was the first oral pill sold to treat impotence.

Viagra has become immensely popular – in 2012, over 8 million prescriptions for Viagra were written in the United States alone, and sales were over $2 billion worldwide. In 2013, Pfizer made Viagra even easier for prescription-holding patients to access by selling it directly to consumers online through a partnership with CVS.

Viagra's ability as an ED drug was actually discovered accidentally. Sildenafil was being tested as a cardiovascular drug when a side effect – firmer and longer-lasting erections – was discovered.

Sildenafil is also marketed as "Revatio" for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and to increase exercise capacity in men and women.

Viagra Side Effects & FDA Warnings

Viagra works by blocking an enzyme called "PDE5A" that regulates blood flow – this increases blood flow throughout the entire body, not just to the heart and genitals.

As a result of this increased blood flow, patients may experience, serious side effects such as:

  • Dizziness/fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain/pain spreading to arm or shoulder
  • Erections that are painful or last for 4+ hours
  • Nausea
  • Flushed skin/sweating
  • Sudden hearing or vision loss, including blindness

In 2005, the FDA required Pfizer to add a warning to Viagra's label about the potential of sudden vision loss, and then in 2007, they required Pfizer to add another warning about the potential of sudden hearing loss.

The Harvard Melanoma Study

In 2000, a group of Harvard researchers were suspicious that if PDE5A is inhibited, melanoma cells' ability to invade and metastasize might be enhanced. So they began an exhaustive, 10-year study of over 25,000 men to see if Viagra could increase melanoma risk.

The study was completed and published in JAMA Medicine in June, 2014. It concluded that men who've used Viagra may have a significantly elevated risk of developing malignant melanoma – 84% higher according to their findings.

Yet some experts have suggested that the Viagra melanoma connection may more likely be due to the lifestyles of men who typically take the drug (older, more affluent men who may be more likely to vacation in sunny climates) rather than Viagra causing the cancer.

As a precaution, in 2016 the FDA decided to ramp up its own study of the relationship between Viagra and melanoma. Results will be forthcoming.

Viagra's Pfizer Faces Lawsuits Nationwide

Meanwhile, Pfizer faces a growing number of lawsuits from men who developed malignant melanoma after having taken Viagra. These victims allege that Pfizer:

  • Knew about the proposed risk of melanoma and concealed facts regarding its safety
  • Failed to adequately research the link between Viagra and a heightened risk of melanoma before the FDA approved it
  • Failed to warn about the link between Viagra and the increased risk of melanoma
  • Continued to market the drug, even after studies showed a possible link to skin cancer

Viagra Lawsuits Housed in Multidistrict Court Litigation

In early 2016, federal judges centralized Viagra lawsuits involving melanoma into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2691) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from North Carolina Lawyers

We are currently investigating claims from patients who have malignant melanoma skin cancer after taking Viagra.

If this sounds like you or someone you love, please call us 24/7 at 1-866-900-7078 or click here to speak with a North Carolina lawyer.

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