(CN) – The antidepressant Trazodone gave him a two-day erection that permanently injured his penis, a man claims in Richmond, Va. City Court. He claims that “the risk of priapism posed by Trazodone is as great or greater than the priapism risks posed by Viagra.”
The man says that neither Teva Pharmaceuticals nor WalMart or its pharmacist warned him of the risks of Trazodone.
He claims he “sustained ischemic injury and permanent damage to the penis, including loss of erectile function,” after taking the prescription drug made by Teva and sold by WalMart. He says neither the defendants nor his (nonparty) doctor warned him of the “risk of priapism associated with this drug.”
The complaint continues: “‘Priapism’ is a persistent erection that lasts more than four hours and occurs without sexual stimulation. The condition develops when blood in the penis becomes trapped and unable to drain. If the condition is not treated immediately, it can lead to scarring and permanent erectile dysfunction.”
He adds that “Priapism is a known risk associated with Trazodone” and that the “the risk of priapism posed by Trazodone is as great or greater than the priapism risks posed by Viagra, a well-known treatment for erectile dysfunction.”
He says he took a single does of Trazodone on Dec. 28, 2008, awoke on Dec. 29 “with an erection that would not subside,” sought help from his family doctor on Dec. 30, “and was referred for emergency medical treatment.” But by then, he says, “it was too late to prevent permanent injury.” He says he had to be treated by a urologist “who performed a surgical ‘Winters’ shunt procedure to relieve the erection.”
“As a direct result of the priapism … he has suffered permanent ischemic injury to the penis and permanent loss of erectile function” as well as medical expenses, “great humiliation, mental anguish, inconvenience, as well as pain and suffering.”
He demands $17.5 million for breach of warranty and medical malpractice. He is represented by Paul Merullo of Virginia Beach.
Priapism is named for Priapus, a Greek fertility god, who protected gardens, livestock, fruit and penises. To the Romans he was known as Mutinis Mutunus.
Priapus was the son of Aphrodite. Hera cursed him with impotence while he was still in the womb, because Paris – whose abduction of Helen caused the Trojan War – thought that Aphrodite was better-looking than Hera. Hera’s curse made Priapus so ugly and foul-minded that the other Gods kicked him off Olympus and abandoned him on Earth, where he was raised by shepherds.
Although he was a god of fertility, his permanent erection was frustrated by the curse of impotence. Ovid wrote that Priapus tried to rape the nymph Lotis, but was foiled by the braying of an ass, which made him lose his erection, presumably temporarily. The incident caused Priapus to hate jackasses, a lustful animal who thereafter was sacrificed in his honor. The gods rescued Lotis by turning her into a flower.
The Romans celebrated the annual festival of Mutinis Mutunus by carrying the image of a phallus around the city. Young women were supposed to avert their eyes, but the old women didn’t; they draped it with flowers.