REPORT: VIAGRA to 'boost baby growth' in womb... -
Pregnant women could be given the anti-impotence drug Viagra to boost the growth of underweight babies.
A trial is underway to see if the little blue pill can boost survival in babies that are not growing properly in the womb.
More than 120 women carrying extremely low-growth babies will be given regular doses of sildenafil citrate, a generic version of Viagra, during their pregnancy.
The results will then be compared with those from a similar group of women given an identical looking dummy tablet.
The trial has been set up after laboratory studies suggested Viagra, which was launched in the UK in 1998 as the world's first pill for erectile dysfunction, could help babies thrive in the womb by boosting the blood supply to the placenta.
Around 600 babies a year in the UK are stillborn because of a pregnancy disorder called pre-eclampsia.
The arteries feeding the placenta do not widen enough to deliver all the blood the baby needs.
But during tests foetal deaths dropped sharply in pregnant mice given Viagra. The drug helps by relaxing muscles in the artery walls and allowing more nutrient-rich blood to pump through.
Now scientists in New Zealand and Australia are recruiting pregnant women for the first human trial of Viagra for foetal growth.
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