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Recreational Drugs

Home Department written question – answered on 29th June 2005.

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Photo of Ashok Kumar Ashok Kumar Labour, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated concerning the effects of using Viagra as a recreational drug along with amyl nitrates.

Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy Minister of State, Department of Health

I have been asked to reply.

Before a medicine can be marketed in the United Kingdom, the manufacturer is required to conduct extensive clinical trials, the results of which are carefully evaluated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on behalf of the Licensing Authority. The Licensing Authority decides whether a marketing authorisation (product licence) can be granted and is advised on this matter by an independent advisory body, the Committee on Safety of Medicines. As independent experts, they undertake a thorough examination of the extensive scientific and technical information supplied in support of the application.

The manufacturer, in conjunction with the Licensing Authority, has provided guidance on prescribing and use of Viagra in the summary of product characteristics for healthcare professionals and patient information leaflet (PIL) for patients. These documents provide full up-to-date information on correct use of Viagra, including contraindicating (prohibiting) the use of Viagra in combination with nitrates. The PIL states:

"Do not take Viagra if you are taking medicines containing nitrates, or nitric oxide donors such as amyl nitrite ("poppers"). Viagra can cause a serious increase in the effects of these medicines. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of these medicines."

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