In an ideal word people asking our services a question would use the PICO format. I’m not a huge fan of this as its a construct that adds a barrier to using our services – it’s hardly user friendly. So we allow free-text questions which normally works quite well, but in around 15-20% of cases we need to get back to the user asking for clarification. However, we got the following Q the other day “Evidence for using viagra”. We could have got back to the GP, but we decided to interpret the Q to mean “Evidence for using viagra in erectile dysfunction”. Arguably the use of sildenafil citrate (Viagra) for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension comes under a different trade name – Revatio. Still, doesn’t really excuse the poor Q….

Talking of viagra and hypertension, that is how viagra came about as a treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED). Sildenafil citrate was originally intended (and tested) as a treatment for hypertension. In the early trials one of the side-effects was erections. This accidental discovery got the pharma-people interested and viagra, as a cure for ED, was born….