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20 December 2004
"Erectasy" Drug Combo Worries Experts
by George Atkinson

A study appearing in the medical journal Sexually Transmitted Infections says that the use of Viagra (sildenafil citrate) combined with illicit drugs is relatively common among gay men. The illicit drugs Ecstasy and cocaine were the most popular found to be used in conjunction with the erectile dysfunction treatment. Viagra has become popular among men who have sex with men because of its capacity to heighten pleasure and prolong sex.

The study was based on surveys completed by gay men at a popular sex resort in the southern United States about their use of non-prescription Viagra.

The average age of men completing the survey was 40. The study was undertaken as the researchers believed that recreational Viagra use could contribute to the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. The researchers say its capacity to enlarge erections and to prolong sex, and therefore increase the risk of abrasions, could increase the chances of passing on sexually transmitted infections.

The researchers found that one in six of the men surveyed said they used Viagra recreationally. Although use of recreational Viagra was not associated with unsafe sexual practices, use of illegal drugs was significantly higher amongst men using non-prescription Viagra. Recreational Viagra use was almost three times as high among men taking ecstasy during sex as among those who did not. Similar patterns were seen for cocaine use with 40 percent of those saying they used cocaine, reporting that they also used Viagra.

The researchers say that preventative education efforts should be considered. Men would benefit from messages explaining how prolonged and chemically exaggerated vasocongestion of the penis can produce micro-abrasions that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

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