Viagra could be key to treating heart disease,...
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Oct 20, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Viagra could be key to treating heart disease, study says

Erectile dysfunction drug encourages blood flow and improves heart performance. The next phase of the study will involve female patients

OurWindsor.Ca

Viagra users could be experiencing benefits beyond the bedroom, a new study has found.

The erectile dysfunction drug could be a key treatment for heart disease because it improves blood flow and prevents the heart from enlarging or changing shape, reveals the study published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Medicine.

It is the first time the effects of Viagra in relation to the human heart’s size, shape and performance have been looked at.

“We found that the main ingredient in Viagra can be used as an effective, safe treatment for several patients with heart disease,” said the study’s lead author, Andrea Isidori. “Some people think these drugs can harm the cardiac function, but they can benefit our cardiovascular health so patients can be relieved in taking these drugs.”

The study showed those who benefited most from Viagra usage suffered from heart failure or left ventricular hypertrophy, a condition involving the enlargement of tissue near the walls of the heart muscles that pump blood.

Isidori and fellow scientists at Sapienza University in Rome discovered the little blue pill’s effects on the heart by testing the effectiveness of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor (PDE5i), an ingredient in Viagra that prevents muscle tissue from relaxing.

Their research, based on previous studies conducted on animals, involved 1,622 male patients taking Viagra or a placebo.

Most of those analyzed experienced improved heart performance with no negative effects on their blood pressure levels.

Isidori says those results weren’t a shocker to the research team.

“We were not surprised because we have seen these positive effects without major effects on blood pressure in the animal studies,” he told the Star.

Though the study found the drug’s effects on the heart to be promising, it noted that long-term, daily use of PDE5i can cause headaches, flushing, nosebleeds and other gastric symptoms.

Despite those effects, researchers say Viagra is already a safe drug for men coping with heart muscle thickening and early-stage heart failure because Viagra is widely prescribed in Canada.

Over the next year, Isidori says he will continue to study the area through broad clinical trials focusing on sex-specific responses to cardiovascular disorders.

Because the current study proved the drug’s safety, Isidori says, the next round of research will involve female patients for the first time. Within a year, he expects to release the results, which he hopes will continue to show Viagra’s positive effects on cardiovascular health.

Toronto Star

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