You have probably heard more than your share of Viagra jokes; a whole Web site is devoted to them. But impotence, or erectile dysfunction (ED), is no joke. According to a survey (H.A. Feldman et al., Journal of Urology, 151:54-61, 1994), more than 50 percent of men between 40 and 70 suffer from some degree of ED. The figure climbs to 67 percent at age 70. That's 20 to 30 million men, according to the National Institutes of Health.
FIRST IN LINE: Viagra is actually the second drug approved to treat ED. More than 600,000 men have used MUSE, Vivus' formulation, since its approval in November 1996. MUSE is a suppository inserted into the tip of the penis (using the applicator pictured above), where the drug diffuses from the urethra into the spongy erectile tissue and causes rigidity within 10 minutes.