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ABOUT: The active drug in Viagra has been linked to 19 deaths in the UK last year, the highest on record since 1999.Sildenafil, the active drug in Viagra, caused more than a dozen deaths in 2017 and is currently linked to seven fatalities this year, according to a report by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).A majority of the deaths were caused by cardiac problems, including coronary artery disorder, cardiac arrhythmia and heart failure.The findings come after it was reported nearly a million Viagra pills had been bought since it became legal to sell them without prescription in March.Viagra was developed in 1998 by accident, after scientists discovered it had benefits for sufferers of erectile dysfunction.Manufactured by Pfizer, the magic blue pills are taken by more than one million men in Britain each year, figures suggest.Most users are in their early to mid 50s, but younger people are starting to take the drugs more often, the pharmaceutical previously said.Until 2013, only the US drug giant had permission to make the pills - costing on average £21.27 for a pack of four.But since its patent expired, rivals have made generic versions containing the same active ingredient, priced at around £1.45 for the same amount of capsules.Celebrities such as Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy magazine, and Hollywood actors Ben Affleck and Ashton Kutcher have previously admitted using Viagra.Manufacturer Pfizer said Viagra Connect is the first pharmacy medicine for erectile dysfunction to be made available without prescription.Since 1998, a total of 166 people have died following their use of the drug, with 44 people dying in 1999.Last year has the second highest number of deaths since the drug's introduction.Viagra also has reported side effects of gastrointestinal issues, blurry vision, nervous system disorders and breathing problems.A majority of those who reported having side effects were men in their 50s and 60s.In a statement to Mail Online, a spokesman for Pfizer said: 'Patient safety is, and will always be, Pfizer's utmost priority.'We work with regulatory authorities around the world to continuously evaluate and monitor safety for each and every Pfizer medicine through ongoing clinical research, analysis and surveillance.'Viagra (sildenafil citrate) is an important treatment option for men with erectile dysfunction, a medical condition that is estimated to affect up to 21 per cent of men – equivalent to 4.3m men in the UK.'Viagra has a well-established efficacy and tolerability profile.From its introduction in 1998 to 2016, over 64m men worldwide were treated with sildenafil citrate.'The safety profile of sildenafil citrate is based on over 9,570 patients in 74 double blind placebo-controlled clinical studies as well as postmarketing surveillance that has been gathered over 10 years.' Viagra should not be used by men who have recently had a stro