Viagra users 69% less likely get Alzheimer’s

Viagra users 69% less likely get Alzheimer’s 1

Per a new study, it seems that Viagra significantly decreases the chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Nice.

A study published in Nature Aging has identified a significant spike in Alzheimer’s in Viagra users. Indeed, the data suggests that those who take the drug are 69% less likely to develop symptoms of the disease.

The study analysed interactions between amyloid and tau proteins, both of which are known to accumulate in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, and are considered to be a major driver of the disease.

“Recent studies show that the interplay between amyloid and tau is a greater contributor to Alzheimer’s than either by itself,” explained study author Dr Feixiong Cheng in a statement.

“Therefore, we hypothesized that drugs targeting the molecular network intersection of amyloid and tau endophenotypes should have the greatest potential for success.”

Unsurprisingly, the majority of claimants who took the drug were men, although the authors state that their findings held true even after adjusting for sex, age, and race.

Finally, the team used stem cells from an AD patient in order to generate neurons in a petri dish, and noted that the addition of sildenafil sparked increased neuronal growth and inhibited the accumulation of tau proteins. While this observation points towards a possible mechanism for the drug’s ability to protect against Alzheimer’s, the researchers insist that their study does not establish causality and that more work is needed in order to confirm the efficacy of Viagra for the treatment of AD.

“Because our findings only establish an association between sildenafil use and reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, we are now planning a mechanistic trial and a phase II randomized clinical trial to test causality and confirm sildenafil’s clinical benefits for Alzheimer’s patients,” said Cheng.

“We also foresee our approach being applied to other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, to accelerate the drug discovery process.”

It has been 22 years since a little blue pill was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for use as a prescription drug to aid erectile dysfunction (ED).

Interestingly, Viagra was actually an accidental discovery when researchers realised the effect it was having on patients. Originally, the drug’s active ingredient, sildenafil, was developed to treat cardiovascular problems by dilating blood vessels in the heart in order to block a protein called PDE-5.

The initial clinical trials were so dismal that the project was almost abandoned by Pfizer, until it was realised that blood vessels were indeed dilating – but not in the heart! A few storeys below, the vessels in the penis were actually dilating, resulting in subjects experiencing involuntary erections. Now at this particular point in time, ED wasn’t even a medically recognised condition. Regardless, Viagra was born.

Now typically, the turnaround time for a drug to be officially deemed effective and safe by the FDA in the US, is about a decade. But maybe those responsible were all middle-aged men with erectile dysfunction because Pfizer managed to successfully complete all the necessary clinical trials in a mere two years.