Levitra’s active ingredient could help to fight Raynaud’s

This year we have already heard about how erectile dysfunction medication has been found to possibly help with certain conditions in men such as premature ejaculation, but now it appears that vardenafil (the active ingredient in Levitra), may help in aiding blood flow and relieving symptoms for those who suffer from Raynaud’s syndrome.

This is a condition that restricts blood supply to certain areas of the body, with the fingers and toes often found to suffer most in this aspect and can actually change to a pale white colour. Symptoms are brought on when blood vessels become narrow due to very cold temperatures and it is believed that Raynaud’s may be a sign of an underlying issue such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma. In many cases, it has been found that by quitting smoking, you can help to alleviate your symptoms as smoking can have a detrimental effect to your blood circulation.

The latest study on Raynaud’s syndrome (or ‘phenomenon’ as it is sometimes known), was published three days ago in the online Archives of Internal Medicine. It is the most wide-scale randomised study that has ever been conducted on the disease and was orchestrated by Evren Caglayan, MD, from the University Hospital in Cologne, Germany. This study is not the first to examine possible benefits of erectile dysfunction medication in treating Raynaud’s, but it is the first to show promising results.

To begin with, Evren and his colleagues’ randomly selected 53 subjects who had attended clinics at the University Hospital because of their Raynaud’s, between the time periods January 2006 to August 2009. Of the 53 patients, almost 90% suffered with secondary Raynaud’s (due to an underlying cause such as systemic sclerosis), and the rest of the patients had primary Raynaud’s, whereby there was no known cause for their condition.

For the study, a 2-period crossover for 6 weeks was implemented, to understand the efficiency and safety of two doses of 10mg vardenafil each day. After a week’s break, the treatment group and those who were given a placebo were switched around so that the treatment group would now receive the placebo. The severity of everybody’s Raynaud’s was established via a daily questionnaire, whereby a ‘Raynaud condition score’ would be calculated. In addition, a laser Doppler perfusion imager was utilised to assess digital blood flow in patients.

The authors reflected on the findings of their study and commented, “Interestingly, in patients receiving vardenafil first, the RCS remained low during the washout phase and the entire second phase of the study when patients received placebo, suggesting a prolonged drug effect. This study is, to our knowledge, the largest randomised controlled trial investigating the efficacy and safety of a PDE5 inhibitor in patients with RP. The findings demonstrate that vardenafil is safe and improves clinical symptoms in these patients.”

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