Viagra Can Help Cardiovascular Health in Men With Type 2 Diabetes

NOVEMBER 21, 2016
Amy Jacob

Diabetes is one of many risk factors associated with poor cardiovascular health – reports show diabetes patients are almost 50% more likely to develop heart disease. For men afflicted with type 2 diabetes and at high risk for heart attacks; however, relief might be found in an unlikely source – the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra (sildenafil).
 
Type 2 diabetes patients struggle with high blood glucose levels that can damage nerves and blood vessels, factors that could trigger heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular diseases. And, reports have shown “the association of erectile dysfunction with cardiovascular disease increases in the presence of type 2 diabetes."
 
According to Andrew Trafford, PhD, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Manchester in the US, prior studies have indicated that phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5 inhibitors) like Viagra could possess benefits for heart health. Trafford and team conducted a study to investigate the relationship between PDE5 inhibitors and the reduced risk of heart attack and mortality among men with erectile dysfunction and type 2 diabetes.
 
Their study assessed electronic health records collected from 2007-2015 of 5,956 men (40-89 years old) who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The team noted that the 1,359 men prescribed PDE5 inhibitors for erectile dysfunction were at a 31% lower risk of all-cause mortality during the 6.9 years of follow-up.
 
Study results showed further evidence that PDE5s like sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil, were “cardio protective in ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) while suppressing cardiac arrhythmias and improving cardiac function”.
 
According to the researchers, the major findings from the study were:
  •  The use of PDE5 inhibitors was associated with a significantly lower all-cause mortality rate and a lower proportion of deaths, which persisted even after adjusting for risk modifiers like previous stroke, previous acute myocardial infarction (AMI), age, hypertension, and use of cardiovascular agents.
  • Patients taking a PDE5 inhibitor had a significantly lower incidence of AMI during the study period.
  • PDE5 inhibitor use was associated with significantly lower mortality risk in patients with history of AMI or an incident of AMI during the study period.
Study authors expressed that the “strong relationship between PDE5 inhibitor use and lower mortality in type 2 diabetes” warrants immediate investigation because of the potential for clinical benefits beyond erectile dysfunction treatment. 
 
Trafford had commented in a news release, “Having diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease so any treatments that could reduce that risk are urgently needed, Erectile dysfunction treatments like Viagra are already licensed for use son, if clinical trials provide further evidence of a life-saving benefit, it might be possible to start treating people with this drug in the not too distant future.” 
 
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