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"Could Viagra Put the Brakes on Jet Lag?"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 22 May 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

(HealthDay News) - Worried about jet lag? Researchers think they might have just the ticket to perk you up: Viagra.
While it's too early to know if it will work in humans, Argentinean researchers are reporting that the drug sildenafil - better known by the brand name Viagra - appears to reduce symptoms of jet lag in hamsters.
Viagra does come with potential side effects, and some men might not appreciate experiencing a temporary respite from erectile dysfunction at 30,000 feet. Still, a sleep specialist called the research promising....

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 9
Availability of Treatment Not Applicable
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This story is about a new use for an established treatment (sildenafil or Viagra) which, by all accounts, may be the perfect answer for anyone wanting to reduce jet lag in their pet hamster.

This story fits the "wacky-and-interesting&qu; ot; category of treatment stories. We are not sure why the journalist is covering such research but it might be to help lend a bigger market for sildenafil. Perhaps the manufacturer wants to nab a bit of the jet lag market from the non-patented melatonin (which has Cochrane-strength reviews to suggest it works.)? Who knows? Maybe the researchers in the story need a way to secure that next grant so this story is about getting the investors interested so the grant money flows.

While the story had some important caveats included, ("people shouldn't rush out to prevent jet lag with doses of Viagra") there was a noticeable lack of small but vital details such as: Are those Argentinean researchers paid for by the makers of the treatment in question? What does it cost to dose your hamster with Viagra? Is such a use currently covered by any province's drug plan? Why does the drug's mechanism of action appear to work for eastward flying hamsters but not westward ones? And perhaps the most important question of all: Is jet lag really a problem in hamsters? This may be our first story involving hamster-mongering. We implore any journalists covering important developments involving the travel habits of small rodents to be much more thorough in their coverage.

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