Viagra And Heart Disease

Is Viagra Safe to Take if I Have Heart Disease?

According to a new Swedish study, the drug first marketed for erectile dysfunction (impotence)–Viagra—may have more uses than previously known. The lead author in the study, Martin Holzmann, says, “Potency problems are common in older men, and now our study also shows that PDE5 inhibitors may protect against heart attack and prolong life.” So, it turns out that not only is Viagra safe, it may even save your life.

Impotence in men happens because of impaired blood flow, and it can be an early warning sign of heart disease. Cialis is another commonly used drug that also improves blood flow all over the body, and not just to the penis.

In the Swedish study, researchers compared the effects of PDE5 inhibitors orally compared to men who took a different erectile dysfunction drug, alprostadil, in 18,500 men who had already had a heart attack and/or had undergone an angioplasty or bypass surgery. These sorts of people are known as having “stable” coronary artery disease by doctors. The risk of having a second heart attack is greatest in the first six months after the first, so the researchers studied men who began taking alprostadil or Viagra/Cialis after the six-month period had passed.

Over a six-year period, 2,800 of the men in the study died. The men who were taking PDE5 inhibitors were 12 percent less likely to die than the men taking alprostadil, which works on prostaglandins. Additionally, these men were at a lower risk for heart failure, a second heart attack, and for needing a bypass or angioplasty surgery. In fact, the more often that the men took the pill, the lower their risk of heart attack was.

It is important to note that this study was not funded by any drug company, and so the results were not biased in any way. Holzmann noted that men, especially older men, should not be shy about talking to their doctors about any erectile dysfunction they were experiencing, especially if they had a history of heart disease, and that the study results were intriguing and encouraging, but that more studies are needed. Researchers are not sure if it is the medicine having the effect on vasodilation, or the fact that these men were having sex, not lonely, and had an overall better sense of well-being.

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