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Viagra May Provide Protection Against Heart Disease: Study

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As new concerns have emerged about potential side effects of Viagra, including a risk of melanoma skin cancer and vision problems, new research suggests that the popular erectile dysfunction drug may have a future use as a treatment for patients with heart disease. 

In a study published by the journal BMC Medicine on October 20, researchers indicate that the “little blue pill” may increase heart performance, leading to calls for larger clinical trials to build on the findings and determine whether Viagra may be an effective and safe treatment for cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from the University of Rome conducted a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials involving the use of Viagra, examining how the medications effects heart health.

“The myocardial effects of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i) have recently received consideration in several preclinical studies,” the researchers explained. “The risk/benefit ratio in humans remains unclear.”

They found that taking PDE5is like Viagra, Ciallis and Levitra can lower cardiac mass and improve heart performance in subjects suffering from left ventricular hypertrophy. The most common side effects were flushing, headache, nosebleeds and gastric symptoms.

Viagra Health Concerns

The findings come amid recent concerns about whether the risk of melamona from Viagra may outweigh the erectile dysfunction treatment benefits provided by the drug, as recent studies have suggested that use of the medication may increase the risk of men developing the deadly form of skin cancer.

Viagra (sildenafil citrate) was introduced by Pfizer in 1998, and it has become a blockbuster medication that is one of the most widely known prescription medications in the country.

The drug has been aggressively promoted as a safe treatment for erectile dysfunction, which causes a number of men to experience sexual problems, including the inability to develop or maintain an erection. Consumers generally believe that the medication carries little, if any, health risks.

Earlier this year, researchers from Harvard Medical School published the findings of a new study that identified a potential link between side effects of Viagra and melanoma skin cancer, finding that men who start using the drug make be 84% more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than men who do not use the medication.

Researchers suggested that Viagra’s role as a PDE5i may be a problem, as it lowers levels of a cancer-fighting protein called PDE5A. This, in turn, results in melanoma skin cancer cells becoming more invasive.

In another study published last month, researchers in Australia also found that Viagra may cause vision problems, including blurred sight, sensitivity to light and possibly even blindness in one out of every 50 men who take the erectile dysfunction drug.

In the wake of the findings, it appears that Pfizer may face a number of Viagra lawsuits being pursued by men who allege that the drug maker withheld important safety information and warnings about the melanoma skin cancer risk from consumers and the medical community. The former users indicate that they may have avoided a diagnosis of melanoma by choosing not to use the erectile dysfunction drug or that they may have been able to catch the cancer earlier if warnings had been provided about the importance of monitoring for signs or symptoms of melamona.

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