Viagra could help men who have had heart attacks live longer - according to a Swedish study

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 2:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 2:42 pm
Viagra could help men who have had heart attacks live longer - according to a Swedish study (Photo: Shutterstock)
Viagra could help men who have had heart attacks live longer - according to a Swedish study (Photo: Shutterstock)

Taking Viagra could help to increase the lifespan of some men, according to findings from a recent study.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have found that the drug - primarily used to treat erectile dysfunction - could prolong the life of men who have survived a heart attack.

The more often taken , the lower the risk of another attack

The new study, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also found that the more often a man takes the drug, the lower their risk of another heart attack.

Viagra is the more commonly known brand name for sildenafil, and is taken to increase blood flow to the penis. Impotence can be an early warning sign among healthy men of cardiovascular disease.

The disease is either treated locally with alprostadil, which helps dilate the blood vessels, or with so-called PDE5 inhibitors, such as Viagra or Cialis tablets.

The study’s author, Martin Holzmann, said: “Potency problems are common in older men and now our study also shows that PDE5 inhibitors may protect against heart attack and prolong life. The protection was dose-dependent, so that the more frequent the dose of PDE5 inhibitor, the lower the risk.”

Protect against strokes and heart failure

Viagra was previously not recommended for men with coronary artery disease due to the risk of a heart attack. This is because the drug decreases blood pressure.

In 2017, Holzmann and colleagues showed that men who have previously had a heart attack can tolerate the drug well, and that it even prolongs life expectancy. The drug was also found to protect against strokes and heart failure.

In their new study, the team compared the effect of alprostadil and PDE5 inhibitors, including Viagra, in men with stable coronary artery disease. The patients had experienced a stroke, balloon dilation, or coronary artery bypass surgery at least six months before starting treatment for erectile dysfunction.

The study saw 16,500 men treated with PDE5 inhibitors, and just under 2,000 who received alprostadil.