11 babies die after pregnant women were given Viagra as part of a clinical drug trial

The experiment was reportedly designed to tests whether a particular medication sold under the brand name Viagra could assist in boosting the babies' growth inside the womb


                            11 babies die after pregnant women were given Viagra as part of a clinical drug trial

A clinical drug experiment was terminated after it resulted in the death of at least 11 babies. The mothers of these babies were reportedly given Viagra during their pregnancy as part of the trial, according to reports. The experiment was reportedly designed to test whether a particular medication sold under the brand name Viagra, called sildenafil, could assist in boosting the babies' growth inside the mothers' wombs.

Viagra is generally used for erectile dysfunction in men and is also prescribed to people who struggle with high blood pressure. The medication assists in dilating blood vessels.

Viagra is generally used for erectile dysfunction in men and is also prescribed to people who struggle with high blood pressure (Getty Images)
Viagra is generally used for erectile dysfunction in men and is also prescribed to people who struggle with high blood pressure (Getty Images)

The research was conducted across 10 hospitals in the Netherlands and involved women whose placentas had been underperforming, according to the Guardian.

The researchers had conducted the experiment after their trial on rats had shown positive results. The scientists were under the impression that the drug would facilitate a better blood flow through the placenta which will help in promoting the growth of the child in the womb.

A significant number of babies were born with lung conditions during the trial. (Getty Images)
A significant number of babies were born with lung conditions during the trial. (Getty Images)

Reports state that all the women participating in the trial had unborn babies whose growth had been limited in the womb. 

The experiment was called off last week after an independent committee overseeing the research found out that more babies — than was previously expected — were being born with multiple lung conditions.

During the trial, which was led by Amsterdam University Medical Centre, a total of 93 women were administered the drug. Out of these, at least 17 babies developed lung conditions, and 11 died. An additional eight babies died of unrelated conditions, according to reports.

Around 10 to 15 women, who have not had their deliveries yet, are reportedly waiting to find out if their child had been affected by the drug too.

The experts were expecting the drug to boost the growth of the babies in the womb. (Getty Images)
The experts were expecting the drug to boost the growth of the babies in the womb. (Getty Images)

The experts fear that the drug may have caused high blood pressure in the lungs, which could have led to the babies receiving too little oxygen. 

Reports state that there is no evidence to suggest that the trial was mishandled.

The leader of the trial, Wessel Ganzevoort, a gynecologist, in an interview with the Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant said: "We wanted to show that this is an effective way to promote the growth of the baby. But the opposite happened. I am shocked. The last thing you want is to harm patients.

The trial was terminated after an independent committee found out that it was harming the babies. (Getty Images)
The trial was terminated after an independent committee found out that it was harming the babies. (Getty Images)

"We have already notified Canadian researchers who are conducting a similar study. In any case, they have temporarily stopped their research," Ganzevoort added.

The study, which began in 2015, with nearly 350 patients was due to run until 2020, according to reports.