AID SATURDAY. MARCH 28. 1998 * IMPOTENCE HEALTH THE SALINA JOURNAL First pill approved to easily treat male impotence Long-awaited therapy to be easier to use, less embarrassing for men By LAURAN NEERGAARD The Associated PTPJS WASHINGTON — Millions of men will soon have access to the first pill to treat impotence, a long-awaited therapy that promises to be easier to use and less embarrassing than traditional treatments. The Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer's Viagra on Friday, saying it helped about two-thirds of impotent men improve their sexual function. The prescription pill becomes the first T RESEARCH nonsurgical treatment for impotence that doesn't have to be either injected or inserted directly into the penis. And unlike other remedies, it does not cause an erection unless the man is sexually stimulated. Pfizer said it would begin shipping Via- gra to pharmacies within two weeks, with a wholesale price of $7 per pill. The FDA said Viagra should be used only once a day, about an hour before intercourse. Impotence specialists hope the pill will encourage more patients to seek medical help. Only 5 percent of the estimated 10 million to 20 million impotent Americans get treatment, but the pill could increase that number to 20 percent very quickly, said Dr. Harin Padma-Nathan of the Uni- versity of Southern California. But the pill also has been much-hyped as a sexual revolution for healthy men merely seeking to increase or improve their sexual activity. But it only works in men with a medical problem, stressed experts who are concerned about the potential for abuse. "Yes, it's an erection improver, but only in men with erectile dysfunction," said Padma-Nathan, director of The Male Clinic in Santa Monica, Calif. "This drug does not change libido or desire ... and it's not going to have any impact on normal men." "This is not an aphrodisiac," added FDA drug chief Dr. Janet Woodcock. But it is the first of what promises to be a booming market. New York drug analyst Mariola Haggar predicts Viagra sales could hit $300 million this year alone. Padma-Nathan predicts half a dozen oral impotence medicines will hit the market in the next seven years. Now in late-stage testing are: • Tap Pharmaceuticals' apomorphine, designed to stimulate an erection by affecting the brain chemicals responsible for sexual response. • Zonagen's Vasomax, an oral version of an injectable blood pressure drug. Viagra, known chemically as sildenafil, is a failed heart drug that Pfizer pursued after some heart patients unexpectedly reported having erections. In studies of 4,000 men with varying erectile dysfunction, 64 percent to 72 percent successfully completed intercourse after taking Viagra, vs. 23 percent of men taking a dummy pill. Viagra works by blocking an enzyme found mainly in the penis. That enzyme is responsible for quelling an erection after sex by breaking down a chemical called cyclic GMP that is produced during sexual stimulation. The longer cyclic GMP stays around, the better chance of maintaining an erection — hence Viagra's effect. Impotence increases with age, and is mostly caused by such medical problems as diabetes, heart disease, prostate surgery and spinal cord injury. It also can be psychological or a side effect of certain drugs. Study: OTilJ«!Btoj3JOJw>w.UllUIWJtf^ GET MORE FOR YOUR DOLLAR Initials With Ever y thin S From High-Power Computers To Digital Cameras At Our Terrific Prices! spell luck Researchers find that your initials determine your longevity By The Associated Press NEW ORLEANS — Maybe names really WILL hurt you. People with initials such as ACE or GOD are likely to live longer than those whose names spell out words like APE, DUD, RAT or PIG, a study suggests. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of California at San Diego, looked at 27 years' worth of California death certificates. People with monograms such as JOY or WOW had a better chance of living longer — and were less likely to commit suicide or die in an accident — than those with neutral or meaningless initials such as JAY or WLW, or those named, say, BUM or UGH, said psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld. He presented his findings Friday at a meeting in New Orleans of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. "The argument is that there's some psychological symbolic factor that can exert its impact cumulatively over the years. You get teased at school, wonder what your parents thought of you — maybe fate is out to get you — but at every stage it's a little tiny depressant to be called PIG, or a little tiny boost to your esteem to be called ACE or WOW," he said in an interview. "All we can do is look at the final outcome." The findings do seem to support the idea that liking your name and liking yourself may be linked, and that parents should be sensitive when naming children, said Penelope Wasson Dralle, a professor in LSU Medical Center's psychiatry department. "If people tend to look at your name and look up at you and laugh, you're sort of at a disadvantage," she said. But, she warned, the study "really doesn't give us any cause and effects." The study looked at the 5 million or so people who died in California from 1969 through 1997. V WATER SAFETY Chlorine in water can be risky By Scripps Howard News Service DENVER — When the deadly disease cryptosporidium appeared in Milwaukee drinking water five years ago, many cities bumped up the amount of chlorine they use, just to be on the safe side. But now studies — still inconclusive — have linked chlorine to suspected carcinogens. The issue of how to prevent diseases while avoiding chemical side effects will be among subjects discussed by water experts from around the world at a conference in Breckenridge, Colo., next week. The deadly Milwaukee outbreak was a wake-up call for water treatment officials, said Kenneth-Carlson, a water expert with the Denver engineering firm CH2M-Hill. "It showed there are things we don't understand." Carlson said. The suspected carcinogen linked to chlorine is called tri- halomethane. It occurs when chlorine breaks down and combines with organic material in the water, such as plant material that washes downstream in the spring. Carlson said Colorado water has seen fewer problems because the state is not downstream from anything — many of the nation's major rivers begin in Colorado. $ 1699 COMPAQ. 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