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The Washington Post
Aimee Swartz
May 13, 2018

 

When a medication being developed to treat a heart condition gave patients erections, drugmakers knew they had a winner — not for angina, but for erectile dysfunction. That drug is now known as Viagra.

Figuring out that a drug developed for one ailment can be effective for another was once a matter of chance. In the case of Viagra, for example, the discovery emerged by observing an unintended but beneficial side effect. Now, technological and scientific advances are allowing researchers to rely more on science and less on luck in hopes of cutting the time and expense involved in getting new treatments to patients.

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