Viagra fails for men

Potency pills - Viagra is not only good for your sex life, but also for your heart

Viagra is not only good for your sex life, but also for your heart

Researchers have found that Viagra can do more than just bring fun to bed. But first it has to be tested on women.

The drug has extended sex lives for thousands of men. Viagra does not always make headlines as a sexual enhancer: Sometimes it increases memory performance, sometimes it increases the risk of skin cancer. It is supposed to help against jet lag in order to then cause high blood pressure again.

Now researchers at Sapienza University in Rome have found that Viagra could be used as a remedy for heart disease. Daily intake of Viagra over a longer period of time is said to improve cardiac output, they write in the medical journal "BMC Medicine".

The decisive role is played by the active ingredient sildenafil, which in Viagra fights erectile dysfunction in men. Specifically, Sildenafil is supposed to help people who suffer from left ventricular hypertrophy. The heart muscle enlarges in the area of ​​the left ventricle.

Sildenafil is said to be able to prevent this heart condition, the authors write. For their investigation, they analyzed 24 studies that were published between January 2004 and May 2014. For the studies, 1,622 men were treated with sildenafil or a placebo.

In the medical journal, the Italian researchers write that Sildenafil has increased the efficiency with which the heart has pumped blood into the vessels in the body and has recovered in between. "So far, very few cardiology drugs can do that," says Andrea Isidori, lead author of the new study. This summarizes that the active ingredient could be given to men who suffer from an enlarged heart muscle.

The researchers' concerns

Isidori points out, however: "More extensive clinical studies are urgently needed to expand on these encouraging findings." So far, such studies have only been carried out with men. Now women should also be included in the investigations.

It wouldn't be the first time the active ingredient in Viagra has been used for any other treatment. Sildenafil has been in the drug Revatio since 2006. This combats the pulmonary hypertension, which can lead to heart failure, among other things.

It almost sounds like sildenafil is a miracle drug. How does the main active ingredient in Viagra actually work? Sildenafil blocks the enzyme PDE5, which controls blood flow in the erectile tissue. This causes the arteries to widen, blood to flow into the penis and an erection to occur. But it only works when the man is sexually aroused.

The fact that Viagra is used today as a sexual enhancer was the result of a chance discovery. Sildenafil was developed to treat heart disease. However, studies have shown that it is unsuitable for this. Instead, male test subjects reported an erectile side effect. Perhaps the active ingredient will soon return to its original purpose.