How Viagra Could Be a Life Saver

viagraDespite suggestions to the contrary in the past, new research has found that not only is it safe for men to take phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors like Viagra following a first heart attack, they could be as much as 33% less likely to die from any cause after the event.

PDE5 inhibitors include erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and Spedra, and work to boost the body’s natural response to sexual stimulation. They do this by blocking the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5 within the smooth muscle cells in the penis.

Presently, NHS advice states that men should show caution prior to taking these types of medications if they have heart disease. Moreover, men are also told to not take them if they have low blood pressure, or have had a stroke or other cardiac events recently.

However, the study conducted at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, has shown that ‘the little blue pill’ Viagra, and other PDE5 erectile dysfunction treatments, could improve heart health.

“If you have an active sex life after a heart attack, it is probably safe to use PDE5 inhibitors,” commented Dr Daniel Peter Andersson at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

“This type of erectile dysfunction treatment is beneficial in terms of prognosis, and having an active sex life seems to be a marker for a decreased risk of death.”

For the study, researchers analysed the records obtained from 43,000 men aged 80 years or under, who were hospitalised as a result of suffering a first heart attack incident between the years of 2007 and 2013.

The men were all assessed for an average of around three years after their heart attack, with researchers interested in if they were prescribed a PDE5 inhibitor or alprostadil, a hormone designed to boost blood flow to the penis.

Just over 7% of men were prescribed an erectile dysfunction drug, with nearly all the men (92 per cent) prescribe PDE5 inhibitors.

A reduction in heart failure higher Viagra was combined with alprostadil, dropping the risk of death by 40%, alprostadil seemed to have no effect taken on its own, suggesting Viagra could benefit heart health.

Although there seems to be major benefits from PDE5 inhibitors such as Viagra for heart health, the researchers could not fully determine a direct cause and effect.

Dr Andersson said he was surprised at the findings as erectile dysfunction is commonly linked to a higher risk of heart disease in otherwise healthy men.

It is worth remembering though that Pfizer scientists originally developed sildenafil – Viagra’s active ingredient – to be intended as a treatment for angina pectoris, a condition that causes chest pains due to heart disease.

Although its capabilities at combating angina were only modest, many men in the trials did report they were experiencing one major boost at least – much better erections.

The new study was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session in Washington.

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