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Erectile Dysfunction Drugs Such As Viagra May Give Longer Life To Heart Attack Patients: Study

10 March 2017, 10:01 am EST By Arrianne Del Rosario Tech Times
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Latest Swedish study suggest a class of erectile dysfunction drugs may be beneficial for heart attack patients. Can ED drugs such as Viagra actually be helpful for heart disease?  ( Christopher Furlong | Getty Images )

Erectile dysfunction is a known risk factor for heart disease in men, and treatment of it was previously linked to increased risk of death.

But surprisingly, a new Swedish study reveals that using phosphodiesterase type 5, or PDE5, inhibitor drugs, a class of erectile dysfunction drugs, after myocardial infarction is not only safe but may also be key to a longer, not to mention happier, life for heart attack patients.

This is what Dr. Daniel Andersson of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm shared at a press conference conducted before the presentation at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in Washington DC.

How ED Drugs Such As Viagra Benefit Heart Attack Patients

Dr. Andersson and his team monitored over 43,000 Swedish men for an average of 3.3 years and noted the positive life-prolonging effect among heart attack patients taking common PDE5 erectile dysfunction drugs, such as Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra (vardenafil), and Cialis (tadalafil).

The researchers looked into a national database of all hospital records of men 80 years and younger admitted due to heart attack between 2007 and 2013. They found that men who used PDE5 inhibitor drugs to address erectile dysfunction showed an astounding 33 percent lower risk of all-cause morbidity after their first heart attack as opposed to those who took alprostadil — a different type of ED drug — and those who did not take any ED drug.

Aside from reduced risk of all causes of death, the findings also showed that men taking erectile dysfunction drugs — both PDE5 inhibitors and alprostadil — had 40 percent less likelihood of running into and being hospitalized for heart problems again compared to their non-ED drug-taking counterparts.

"If you have an active sex life after a heart attack, it is probably safe to use PDE5 inhibitors. This type of erectile dysfunction treatment is beneficial in terms of prognosis, and having an active sex life seems to be a marker for a decreased risk of death," Dr. Andersson explained.

Too Early To Recommend

Despite proving strong heart health benefits, Dr. Andersson mentioned that the study by design was unable to pinpoint the direct cause and effect.

"I do think the patients are more likely to be healthier at baseline than the patients you wouldn't prescribe these medications for ... We would assume they would not be on nitrates, so they would be less likely to be having symptoms of angina," Dr. Martha Gulati of University of Arizona College of Medicine, the moderator of the said press briefing, suggested.

Nevertheless, Dr. Andersson clarified that although their study provides valuable insight to understanding heart disease, this doesn't necessarily mean that current recommendations should be updated just yet.

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