Viagra Has Been Associated With A Higher Incidence Of Invasive Melanoma, A Side Effect Which May Also Be Linked To Cialis, Levitra, And Similar ED / BPH / PAH Drugs
Viagra (sildenafil), the most common drug prescribed for male erectile dysfunction (ED), appears to increase the risk for invasive melanoma but not cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas nor basal cell carcinomas.
Essentially, Viagra acts by inhibiting phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5). Experimental in vitro studies show that PDE5 inhibition augments tumor cell invasiveness, supporting this new Viagra side effect finding.
Some patients who developed melanoma after using Viagra have filed a drug injury lawsuits against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer seeking legal compensation. In late 2015 a motion to transfer was filed on behalf of those Plaintiffs to have those lawsuits pending in the federal court system consolidated in was is called a "multidistrict litigation" (MDL) case.
In more detail, on December 11, 2015 a legal document captioned In re: VIAGRA® PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION, MDL No. 2691 was filed with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) seeking consolidation of all Viagra - melanoma lawsuits pending in various federal courts around the country. Soon thereafter, on December 22, the Defendant in those lawsuits, Pfizer, filed a response to the Plaintiffs' motion to transfer, agreeing that all these Viagra drug injury lawsuits should be consolidated in an MDL which should be assigned to the Northern District of California, a specific division of the federal court system.
To give you an idea of what the MDL consolidation is about, we present this small excerpt from the motion to transfer:
B. Viagra® Litigation
To date, multiple individuals have filed similar suits against Defendant. Each of these
actions assert virtually identical claims against the same Defendant, for the same injury, caused by
the same drug, i.e. Viagra®. There are currently 15 claims pending against Defendant in several
different federal jurisdictions, all making similar claims and allegations. See Schedule of Actions.
C. Many More Claims Anticipated
Significantly, these filed cases represent only a small sample of the cases that are expected
to be filed against Defendant by individuals who have developed melanoma subsequent to taking
Strictly Confidential, No Obligation.
As for what little has happened since then concerning this proposed Viagra MDL case, we turn to this January 4, 2016 news report, "JPMDL Won’t Expedite Hearing On Viagra Skin Cancer MDL Motion":
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Dec. 29 denied a joint request by Pfizer Inc. and Viagra plaintiffs to place a motion for a skin cancer multidistrict litigation on the panel’s Jan. 28 agenda (In Re: Viagra Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2691, JPMDL).
In a Dec. 28 joint motion, the parties asked the JPMDL to place the MDL motion on the Jan. 28 calendar to avoid the delay of waiting until the panel’s next hearing in March. They said that because cases are ongoing in various federal district courts, they fear that those courts will issue inconsistent rulings in the intervening time.
The next JPMDL hearing is scheduled for March 31, 2016, and we expect to have the Viagra MDL ruling issued some time in April 2016, as things stand now.
There are four other ED drugs which are phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors:
- Cialis (tadalafil)
- Levitra (vardenafil)
- Staxyn (vardenafil)
- Stendra (avanafil)
In addition, Cialis is prescribed sometimes when doctors see the signs and symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) -- as some of you may know from the Cialis TV advertisements.
Two other phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors are Revatio (sildenafil) and Adcirca (tadalafil). These drugs are prescribed for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).
Medical researchers involved with this still emerging drug-safety issue seem to believe that these six other drugs (in addition to Viagra) are probably associated with an increased risk of melanoma skin cancer, too.
Essentially, the active ingredients sildenafil, tadalifil, vardenafil, and avanafil which are found in these ED, BPH, and PAH drugs act by inhibiting the phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5). Experimental in vitro studies show that PDE5 inhibition augments tumor cell invasiveness. In turn, this effect seems related to an apparent melanoma skin cancer link for all of these drugs.
We are currently investigating cases of melanoma in men who used Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn, or Stendra, as well as men and women who used Revatio or Adcirca. These cases are possible drug injury lawsuits against the responsible pharmaceutical companies, not the prescribing doctors.