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Why Viagra May Help You Live Longer

The lifespan-extending benefits are for your heart, not your junk.

Viagra can provide a much-needed boost in the bedroom. But research has unearthed evidence that the blue pill’s health benefits go well beyond that. In fact, it may just help you live longer.

A new study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine funded by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi found a link between taking PDE5 inhibitors, such as Viagra, and protection against certain heart problems.

Comparing 14 years’ worth of medical records for men who had been prescribed PDE5 drugs with the records of men who had not received such a prescription found striking advantages for the former group: The men taking the erectile dysfunction drugs were 39 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. They were also 25 percent less likely to die from any cause whatsoever. And overall, they were 13 percent less likely to have a cardiac event like a heart attack or stroke.

The usual caveats apply: As Sanofi sells its own PDE5 avanafil (commercially known as Stendra), the funding comes with bias. And the study cannot prove causation. But health experts told Science Alert that the findings are encouraging, if not exactly surprising.

The Wider Health Benefits of Viagra, Explained

We’ve known for some time that Viagra has wider health benefits beyond treating erectile dysfunction

As Medical News Today points out, previous studies have shown that PDE5 drugs have cardioprotective benefits in men with type 2 diabetes and known cardiovascular disease. In 2005, the FDA approved Viagra under the brand name Revatio for non-ED treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (a form of high blood pressure). 

But now there’s evidence that even perfectly healthy men could reap benefits of these medications (also known by the generics sildenafil, vardenafil, tadalafil, and avanafil).

Harvard has looked at sildenafil’s other potential therapeutic roles, not just for heart issues, but also for mountain sickness and Raynaud’s phenomenon (arterial spasms triggered by exposure to the cold). By reducing the amount of PDE5 in the body, these drugs increase the amount of cyclic guanosine monosulphate — a molecule that promotes the relaxation of smooth muscles in the artery walls  leading to increased blood flow and better circulation.

ED medication prescriptions are on the rise, Medical News Today reported, but the latest research opens up exciting new possibilities for Viagra and its ilk, though more rigorous research will be key.

“It would be great if the government (NIH) was interested,” the Journal of Sexual Medicine study’s lead author Dr. Robert A Kloner said. “Perhaps some of these more recent retrospective studies that have shown very consistent and positive results will reawaken interest in funding these drugs for new indications from various sources.”

SEXUAL HEALTH