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Shezad Malik MD JD
Shezad Malik MD JD
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California Viagra Malignant Melanoma Skin Cancer Lawsuits

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Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant had a runaway hit on their hands when they developed and sold their blockbuster drug, Viagra. Now, allegations are surfacing in many Viagra melanoma lawsuits, claiming that Pfizer failed to warn patients and doctors about the melanoma skin cancer link associated with the erectile dysfunction medication.

Viagra Melanoma AttorneyViagra Melanoma Lawsuits on the rise

Recently, two lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in which the plaintiffs allege that Pfizer knew or should have known about the melanoma skin cancer risk associated with Viagra for years.

According to Amador Herrara’s claim, Herrara was diagnosed with melanoma after using Viagra for many years.

Herrara has undergone many surgeries and alleges that he must remain watchful for the reappearance of the deadly skin cancer.

Another plaintiff, Dennis Andrews, filed a Viagra lawsuit, claiming that he developed malignant melanoma after using Viagra for many years. Andrews also underwent many surgeries and skin grafts. According to Andrews claims that must carefully monitor for signs of the melanoma skin cancer’s return.

What is Melanoma?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and melanoma is the deadliest skin disease. According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, melanoma is usually, a cancer of the skin that begins in melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the skin that makes melanin. Melanin is the compound that gives skin its color.

Melanocytes are responsible for the development of moles, which can turn cancerous, occasionally melanoma can develop in mucus membranes or the eyes.

According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is diagnosed in about 69,000 Americans each year and causes about 8,650 deaths annually.

Melanoma usually presents as discolored or bleeding moles or patches of skin. Melanoma can be successfully treated if diagnosed early, but once melanoma has spread beyond the skin and local lymph nodes, in other words metastasized, the cancer treatment is painful, difficult and ultimately fatal.

Undiagnosed melanoma can metastasize, throughout the body, most commonly to the liver, lungs, brain and bones.

Viagra Melanoma Risks

Pfizer released Viagra (sildenafil citrate) in 1998, and it has achieved blockbuster status in the United States.

Millions of men around the world have taken Viagra to treat impotence and sexual dysfunction, and also as a recreational drug to improving sexual performance.

According to experts, recent medical studies indicate that Viagra may reduced the body’s natural ability to block the spread of melanoma. Viagra works by blocking a key enzyme phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) which is involved in erectile deflation. The target for the oral erectile dysfunction drugs, phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, is part of a pathway implicated in the development of malignant melanoma.

Malignant melanoma is enhanced by a faulty gene (BRAF) which suppresses the PDE5 enzyme. This finding suggests that PDE5 plays an important role in preventing the spread of skin cancer. It is concerning that Viagra, and similar drugs, could be mimicking the effect of the mutated BRAF gene.

Viagra Melanoma Side Effect Studies

In 2011, a study in the medical journal Cancer Cell, warned that Viagra could enhance melanoma cell invasion.

In 2012, another study in the Journal of Cell Biochemistry noted that PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra could enhance melanoma development.

In 2014, in a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that men who took Viagra were 84% more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than men who do not use the drug.

Most recently in a 2015 report published in JAMA, a large Swedish study involving over 20,000 men, the use of PDE5 inhibitors was associated with a modest but statistically significant increased risk of malignant melanoma. However, the pattern of association (eg, the lack of association with multiple filled prescriptions) raises questions about whether this association is causal.

The study found that those who were prescribed a single course of the drugs were one third more likely to develop a malignant melanoma. For men who had multiple prescriptions the risk was raised by 20 per cent. The New York University researchers said the findings were statistically significant.