Viagra-laced Stents May Stop Arterial Blood Clotting

stentWill the wonders of miracle anti-impotence drug Viagra never cease? It seems barely a month goes by without researchers discovering another potential health benefit that could be derived from the popular ‘little blue pill’.

In March, Medical Specialists® Pharmacy reported how Viagra could be a life saver, decreasing the risk of death by as much as 33% following a heart attack. The Swedish study noted “If you have an active sex life after a heart attack, it is probably safe to use PDE5 inhibitors. 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.”

Then again, the drug, known as its generic name ‘sildenafil’ at the time, was initially developed way back in 1989 as a possible treatment for high blood pressure and angina pectoris. The latter is a condition that causes chest pain due to restricted blood flow to the heart. It was only after test subjects in clinical trials reported markedly improved erections, that scientists realised they could use sildenafil to treat erectile dysfunction, especially after the trials proved it had little use for heart disease treatment.

We now come to the latest discovery with Viagra, with researchers in South Korea finding that the erectile dysfunction treatment may help in preventing potentially deadly blood clots in adults who have previously had a stent fitted.

What is a stent?

A stent is a wired mesh tube that is inserted into a blockage, keeping the artery open by acting as a scaffold. The primary aim is of course to prevent heart attacks from occurring.

Stents are made from either metal or plastic and despite being aimed to keep the arteries wide open, in a third of cases, the stents can actually have the opposite effect and the arteries start to become narrow again.

This is because the body’s immune system views the inserted stent as a foreign body and begins to attack it, resulting in swelling and extensive tissue growth around the stent.

Viagra-laced stents?

However, if the stents were laced with sildenafil – Viagra’s active ingredient – could this massively cut any risk of problems happening? That is what the researchers in the South Korean study believe from their findings.

The researchers found that sildenafil boosts the activity of the protein kinase G enzyme, Medical News Today states.

The boost in the activity of kinase G prevents artery walls from being thick and clogged, meaning the impotence drug could aid in preventing clotting following stent surgery. The enzyme activity is inhibited by having a stent inserted.

In the early trials on rodents, sildenafil worked to decrease the clumping of blood platelets by an incredible 30%.

Lead author Dr Han-Mo Yang, of Seoul National University Hospital, said: “Our study is limited by involving only animals.

“If clinical trials show that sildenafil reduces restenosis after stent placement, it could be used in the clinical setting right away because the drug is already used in the real world for other purposes.”

It is unclear from the trial if sildenafil-coated stents will mean male patients experience any spontaneous and unstimulated erections, though this could be unlikely as Viagra and other PDE-5 inhibitors only help you achieve an erection if you are sexually stimulated or aroused.

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