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Viagra users may have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, study finds

Viagra users may have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, study finds…  Viagra might help keep the mind sharp, if an association found in a recent review is any indication of treatment potential.

Viagra users may have a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, study finds
Viagra users may have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, study finds—–

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic reviewed data from more than 7 million people and found that those who were prescribed sildenafil — the generic name for Viagra — had a 69% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who did not take the erectile dysfunction pill.

Their analysis considered insurance claims data spanning a six-year follow-up period, during which some patients tried other drugs that considered relevant to Alzheimer’s risk. Those who took sildenafil were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to those who took blood pressure and diabetes medications also studied in relation to the disease.

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The team modeled an Alzheimer’s patient brain using stem cells to observe the promising effects of sildenafil in a lab setting. Although their early findings cannot support a causal relationship between the drug and disease outcomes, the study indicates a need for more research, lead author Feixiong Cheng said in a press release.

Cheng added that a randomized control trial with more gender diversity would be the next step in determining whether sildenafil is a candidate for treating Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases in the future.

The erection pill could help protect against heart problems

The recent analysis began as an inquiry into more than 1,600 preexisting, FDA-approved drugs to see if any could be used to treat Alzheimer’s. A scan of genetic and other data flagged Viagra as one of 66 candidate drugs for targeting common markers of the disease.

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Viagra has been considered for other off-label uses in the past, including supporting heart health later in life.

Researchers in Sweden found that men who took Viagra for years after having a heart attack were more likely to live longer without another incident compared to a notably smaller number of men who took a different erectile dysfunction pill.

The findings, published in March, were limited by the observational nature of the study. But they represent another area to look into: how ED medication might affect overall cardiovascular and metabolic health.

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In fact, the Alzheimer’s study also found that sildenafil use was linked to a lower likelihood of the disease in people with with coronary artery disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes — all of which are comorbidities significantly associated with risk of the disease, Cheng noted — as well as in those without.

 

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