Viagra May Give Athletes an Advantage
Study probes increased 'oxygen-carrying' capacity in blood
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Nov 23, 2008 5:58 AM CST
Lacrosse players at Marywood University are test subjects in the study.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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(Newser) – Researchers are investigating whether Viagra provides athletes with an unfair advantage at high altitudes, the New York Times reports. By dilating blood vessels, Viagra may increase an individual's oxygen-carrying capacity. The test subjects in the Marywood University study are lacrosse players, who laugh off classmates'  teasing that comes with taking the bedroom-friendly drug. "I think they're looking for tips" from us, said a player.

It remains unclear if Viagra will be officially banned in athletic events, and there is no evidence yet that it's popular among athletes. Some scientists are skeptical that the drug could provide a competitive edge, claiming that it's "extremely difficult, if not impossible" to prove Viagra enhances athletic performance. Still, the World Anti-Doping Agency, which is financing the study, has reason to investigate: Last May an Italian cyclist was found with 82 of the illicit pills.