What Viagra Does To Us

October 21, 2014

Young adult couple in bedroom

Most of us know sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i), as Viagra — the little blue pills that give you erections. Heck, given that the company reports 35 million people have used the drug, there’s a decent chance you’ve experienced it yourself.

There Can Be Only One

A new study published in the journal BMC Medicine wondered about Viagra outside the bedroom: Was it safe for men with heart conditions, and could it have some benefits? The answer, it turns out, is yes — on both counts.

Viagra has an interesting history. It actually began life as a drug meant to treat angina pectoris, a chest pain associated with coronary heart disease.

It wasn’t especially successful at that, but patients testing the drug reported a curious side-effect — all of a sudden, they were able to experience strong penile erections, even men who had experienced ED in the past.

All it took was some clever re-branding, and society was gifted with the little blue boner pills we know today.

Early reports of cardiac events in some users received a lot of media coverage, leading physicians to caution patients with heart conditions against taking the drug.

No significant study ever substantiated the risks, though, leading researchers to conclude that cardiac events were due to incorrectly taking the drug alongside nitro compounds, which apparently can have dangerous results for men with heart disease.

For A Healthier Heart

The new study treated 1,622 test subjects, 954 of whom received the Viagra. The study authors noted three major effects: An anti-remodeling effect by reducing cardiac mass, an improvement in cardiac performance by increasing cardiac index and an improvement in flow-mediated vasodilation.

In other words, Viagra seems not only safe to take with a heart condition, but it actually has some tangible cardiovascular benefits as well.
“Given the reproducibility of the findings and tolerability across different populations, PDE5i could be reasonably offered to men with cardiac hypertrophy and early stage heart failure,” they wrote.

Viagra is one of the most successful drugs in history. Now, it actually might have a place outside the bedroom.

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