New Research Dispels Viagra Safety Concerns

viagraNew research has shattered any lingering myth that Viagra and other popular treatments for male impotence may increase the risk of a type of skin cancer known as melanoma.

The news will come as great news to men who wish to enjoy a happy, healthy sex life but have previously been put off seeking erectile dysfunction treatments for fear of unfounded rumours about potential side effects.

Melanoma is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK, often characterised by the appearance of new moles across the body, or changes to existing ones. The moles may appear anywhere on the body, but the most commonly affected areas are the back in men and the legs in women. If not detected early, it can prove deadly, and kills around 2,000 people each year in Britain.

Since the 1990s melanoma skin cancer rates have gone up by 162% in men, compared to the 89% rise seen in women.

For the research into melanoma, researchers from New York University (NYU), assessed the data emanating from five large-scale studies of over 866,000 men who used erectile dysfunction medications.

It was determined that the men taking the erectile dysfunction drugs had an overall 11% increased risk of melanoma, but that it wasn’t actually the drugs behind this.

Researchers instead connected the apparent link to a ‘detection bias’, which essentially means that the men who are taking erectile medications are more likely to be more conscious about their health and wellbeing. Therefore, they are then more likely to see a doctor for check-ups, etc., and have any health problems spotted by the doctor.

A statement from Stacy Loeb, urologist and assistant professor at the university, said that while physicians need to screen for melanoma risk, they “do not need to add the use of Viagra and similar drugs to the screening list”.

“In general, men should continue to be careful about the risk of any kind of skin cancer from excessive sun exposure and use sun protection.

“Overall, Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors are safe medications as long as men are not taking nitrates, which carry a risk of reducing blood pressure. Physicians and patients should not be concerned about taking these medications on account of worry about melanoma.”

The findings have been publicised in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, coming after the FDA’s decision to place Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs on its watch list of medications with possible safety issues.

That FDA decision seemed to be in response to a 2014 study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which appeared to link Viagra use and melanoma risks.

However, the new NYU large-scale research may force the FDA to reconsider their stance as ED drugs don’t seem to play any direct part in raising the risk of skin cancer in men.

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