Eleven babies die after pregnant women were given Viagra in drug trial

None of the mothers were affected by the drug. (Shutterstock)
Updated 25 July 2018
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Eleven babies die after pregnant women were given Viagra in drug trial

  • Out of the 93 women using the drug, 19 babies died, 11 of them possibly due to a form of high blood pressure in the lungs which may be linked to the drug

THE HAGUE: Dutch doctors and scientists have halted a ground-breaking study into using Viagra to help pregnant women whose babies were not growing properly in the womb after 11 infants died.
Amsterdam University Medical Center, which carried out the research along with 10 other hospitals in the Netherlands, announced Monday the study had been stopped after the deaths of the babies, and after others developed lung disease having been born prematurely.
Viagra, which is the better known name of the generic drug sildenafil, is more commonly used for men with erectile problems.
But doctors believed that its properties in dilating blood vessels could help promote a better flow of blood into the placenta and “stimulate the growth of the unborn child” whose development had been retarded in the mother’s womb, the hospital said in a statement.
The study involving the UMC and 10 other Dutch hospitals was launched in 2015 focusing on women whose babies developed poorly in early pregnancy, the Amsterdam hospital said.
“The prognosis for such babies is poor and there is no known other treatment for the child,” it said.
At the moment when the trial was stopped last week, a total of 93 women had been given Viagra to take during their pregnancy, while 90 others were given a placebo.
None of the mothers were affected by the drug.
But out of the 93 women using the drug, 19 babies died, 11 of them possibly due to a form of high blood pressure in the lungs which may be linked to the drug. Six other babies were also born with a lung condition which prevents them from getting enough oxygen, but survived.
Out of the placebo group, nine babies died none of them from lung disease. Three others were born with a lung condition.
Dutch media reported Tuesday that between 10 to 15 other women now faced an agonizing wait to see if the drug has affected their as yet unborn child.
Amsterdam gynaecologist Wessel Ganzevoort, who led the study, told the leading Volkskrant daily that Viagra had been seen as a very promising drug to help boost growth in unborn babies.
Patients had even heard about the study and had asked him to prescribe it, he said. So he had been “shocked” at the results of the study.
“We wanted to show that this was effective to promote growth among babies, But the opposite has happened,” he told Volkskrant.
“The last thing you want to do is harm patients.”
He revealed the results had also been shared with Canadian researchers working on similar trials.


‘French Spiderman’ climbs Paris skyscraper harness-free

Updated 25 March 2019
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‘French Spiderman’ climbs Paris skyscraper harness-free

  • Climb was done to help to raise funds for the renovation of Notre-Dame cathedral
  • Robert has climbed more than 100 structures including the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Burj al Khalifa in Dubai

PARIS: Dubbed the “French Spiderman,” Alain Robert scaled a skyscraper in Paris on Friday without a harness to raise funds for the renovation of Notre-Dame cathedral.
Television images showed the 56-year-old using horizontal struts running up the Engie headquarters’ curved facade and a protruding structure going top-to-bottom of the 185-meter glass-fronted building in La Defense business district
Robert halted regularly to chalk his hands.
He was arrested shortly after completing the climb.
“Because there’s no money left in the government coffers, the cathedral is falling into disrepair,” he said ahead of the climb. His sponsors were writing a cheque of €5,000 ($5,650) to help finance the renovations, he added.
During the stunt, bystanders at the bottom pointed smartphones toward clear blue skies as wispy clouds raced overheard in blustery winds.
Robert has climbed more than 100 structures including the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Burj al Khalifa in Dubai, as well as the same tower in Paris in 2016.
The Archbishop of Paris is on a drive to raise more than €100 million to save Notre-Dame’s crumbling gargoyles and gothic arches.