Cialis, Levitra, Viagra, and Other Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Drugs

If you've suffered serious side effects from taking a drug for erectile dysfunction (like Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra), you mayhave a product liability claim.

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If you have suffered injuries or serious side effects caused by a drug you are taking for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED), you may have a defective product liability claim.  (To learn more about drug related product liability claims in general, read Nolo's article Product Liability Claims Involving Pharmaceutical Drugs.

The three most commonly prescribed drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction are:

  • Cialis
  • Levitra, and
  • Viagra.

In recent years, there have been numerous reports of serious side effects experienced by men who have taken these erectile dysfunction drugs. Plaintiffs have filed several lawsuits against drug manufacturers in connection with these side effects. The focus of these lawsuits is typically a products liability claim.

In this type of products liability lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks compensation for injuries caused by the pharmaceutical drug. The most common claims are that:

  • the drug caused unreasonably dangerous side effects, and
  • the manufacturer, the doctor, or the pharmacy (among others) failed to provide adequate warnings or instructions regarding the use of the drug.

Reported Side Effects of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs

In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned of a possible link between the use of erectile dysfunction drugs and:

  • sudden loss of vision in one eye, impaired color perception, or blurred vision
  • sudden loss of hearing, tinnitus, or dizziness
  • erections that last for excessive periods of time ("priapism"), and
  • a sudden drop in blood pressure, which can lead to fainting, heart attack, or stroke.

Men may be at greater risk of suffering side effects from erectile dysfunction drugs if they are over the age of 50; have heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol; or are taking certain other medications.

Evaluating Your Potential Injury Claim

If you think you have been injured as a result of a drug you took for erectile dysfunction, in order to win your lawsuit you will have to prove that:

  • you were injured
  • the erectile dysfunction drug you took causes unreasonably dangerous side effects, or the manufacturer, pharmacy, doctor, or others didn't sufficiently want you regarding the side effects, and
  • the erectile dysfunction drug was the cause of your injury.

In products liability claims involving pharmaceutical drugs, the outcome of the case often comes down to the second and third issues listed above. The drug manufacturer and any other defendants are likely to fight you on both.

Keep in mind that many drugs are known to carry serious risks; if you are properly advised of those risks and you and your doctors decide the risks are worth taking in view of your condition, you won't be able to sue if you then suffer the side effects. (To learn more about evaluating and proving a drug related product liability claim, read Nolo's article Proving a Defective Product Liability Claim.)

You may also have a medical malpractice claim or other legal claims depending on the details of your particular case. (To learn more about medical malpractice, read Nolo's article  Medical Malpractice Basics.)

How Long Do I Have To File My Lawsuit?

The answer to this important question may vary depending on the law of the state that applies to your claim.  Every state sets certain time limits, called the "statute of limitations," on bringing product liability claims. (To learn more about these time limits, read Nolo's article Time Limits for Filing a Defective Product Liability Claim. For the time limit to bring injury lawsuits in your state, see Chart: Statutes of Limitations in All 50 States.)

As with any personal injury lawsuit, you should file your lawsuit as soon as possible, or at a minimum, make sure you know the deadline.

Class Action Lawsuits

You may be only one of a large number of people who have suffered similar side effects from taking the same erectile dysfunction drug you took. In such cases, you may be able to join together and file a class action lawsuit.

There have been some efforts in recent years to build a class action lawsuit in connection with the side effects from taking erectile dysfunction drugs. Depending on the ongoing success of such efforts, you may have the option of joining an already existing class action lawsuit. (To learn about the pros and cons of joining a class action, read Nolo's article Product Liability Claims Involving Pharmaceutical Drugs.

Getting Help

Generally it is not advisable to represent yourself in a defective product cases involving erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs. The legal and medical issues in these cases are often complex and sophisticated. Depending on your case, you may wish to retain the services of a lawyer who specializes in products liability (and perhaps even one who specializes in drug cases).

You may also want to consult with a lawyer to find out if there is an already existing class action based on the erectile dysfunction drug that you took, and if so, whether it is advisable for you to join that class action. (If there is an already existing class action, consider contacting the lawyers for the class directly; they will probably be interested in having you join the lawsuit.) Such initial consultations are usually free of charge.

For help in choosing a good personal injury attorney, read Nolo's article Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer. Or, go to Nolo's Lawyer Directory for a list of personal injury attorneys in your geographical area (click on the "Types of Cases" and "Work History" tabs to find out about the lawyer's experience, if any, with pharmaceutical drug cases).

Updated by: , J.D.

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