Dutch Women Viagra Tragedy: 11 of 93 Babies Die in Drug Trial

Glen Mclaughlin
July 28, 2018

But they also found no benefit.

The 93 parents who received sildenafil - better known as Viagra - in a trial to try to stimulate their baby's growth, were told that it may have increased the chances of potentially fatal lung disease.

The research, led by Amsterdam University Medical Center, focused on improving the flow of blood through the placentas of 93 pregnant women.

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Of the 90 women in a control group who took a placebo, three had children who developed the same lung issues, but no babies died from conditions that could be linked to sildenafil.

In the placebo group nine babies died, none from the lung disease. Women participated in a medical experiment.

Research lead and gynaecologist Wessel Ganzevoort is reportedly "shocked" by the results. Since the drug is no longer under patent, scientists have been keen to explore other uses for the drug.

But she supports the decision made by Dutch investigators to discontinue to the study.

The Hope Was Viagra Could Help Babies. Instead, 11 Died

A spokesman for Amsterdam UMC said it believed the trial had been conducted properly, but would expect an external investigation to be launched.

It can mean babies are born prematurely, with a very low birth weight and poor chances of survival.

The further growth and development of the children in the stopped Netherlands study will be monitored and the data further analyzed, according to the medical center.

Earlier trials in the United Kingdom and Australia and New Zealand did not find any evidence of potential harm from the intervention.

But last week the trial was terminated when an independent committee overseeing the research found that more babies than expected were being born with lung problems. The Dutch team plans to investigate all of the cases of lung hypertension and the neonatal deaths it caused to check whether the diagnosis was correct and whether there were other specific characteristics among this group.

A second trial with the same drug in Canada has also been paused, though there is no indication anyone there has been harmed. "Combining our results with those of the other trials and zooming in on subgroups might give more clarity", he says.

Professor Zarko Alfirevic from the University of Liverpool, who led part of the United Kingdom research into sildenafil in pregnancy, said that the findings in the Dutch study were "unexpected".

"This finding in the Dutch study is unexpected", Zarko Alfirevic, a professor at the University of Liverpool and one of the authors cited in a similar United Kingdom study, told the BBC. Viagra dilates the blood vessels and is sometimes prescribed for people with high blood pressure.

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Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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