MENU

Viagra, Cialis may help boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Close

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in every 5,600 to 7,700 males between 5 to 24 years old has muscular dystrophy (MD), a hereditary disorder characterized by progressive weakening of the muscles.

Duchenne MD (DMD), the most prevalent form of the condition, primarily affects boys and starts as early as three years old. By age 12, most individuals with DMD are no longer able to walk and many patients with muscular dystrophy were not able to live beyond their teen years. A study conducted in in 2007 found that only 58 percent of males with Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy managed to reach 20 to 24 years old.

No specific treatment is available for the condition but a new study suggests that drugs that are normally prescribed to men with erectile dysfunction may help boys suffering from DMD. Researchers who conducted a study on 10 boys with DMD found that Viagra and Cialis may actually improve blood flow to the weakened muscles of DMD patients.

For the study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), Neurology on May 7, the researchers involved 10 boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who were between 8 and 13 years old and taking steroids and compared them with 10 healthy boys of the same age.

The researchers found that the boys with DMD had abnormal blood flow regardless that they were taking corticosteroid, which is used to slow down muscle degeneration in DMD patients but is associated with a number of side effects including high blood pressure, acne, diabetes and osteoporosis. Two weeks after giving the boys Viagra or Cialis, the researchers noticed that their blood flow improved to the point it was comparable to the blood flow of the healthy boys.

"The effect was immediate and dramatic. The result also was more pronounced with higher doses," said study author and Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute assistant director Ronald Victor. "This is not a cure, but it is the first stop toward identifying potential treatments."

Despite the promising results, Victor said that more research is still needed before the drugs can be recommended for individuals with DMD. He also said that the study was not able to determine whether restoring normal blood flow could preserve muscles and slow down the progression of the disease.

ⓒ 2018 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Real Time Analytics