Preliminary results of a research show that men who take sex enhancement drugs after suffering a heart attack may experience enhanced heart health.
“Men taking this type of erectile dysfunction drug had a 33% reduced risk of death within three years of their first heart attack, compared to men not taking the PDE5 inhibitor, said Daniel Andersson, lead researcher who is a postdoctoral researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
“The men also experienced a 40% reduced risk of subsequent hospitalization for heart failure.
“We also find a dose-dependent relationship between amount of dispensed PDE5 inhibitors and increased survival,” Andersson said; but warned that the study size was not large enough to show a definitive link between dose and benefit.
Andersson said they were surprised because erectile dysfunction is a known risk factor for heart disease. He said they expected that treatment for ED would be associated with an increased risk of death.
PDE5 inhibitors such as viagra, cialis and levitra work by causing blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow to the penis and making it easy for the patient to achieve and maintain an erection.
Researchers used health records to identify more than 43,000 Swedish men who had suffered a first heart attack between 2007 and 2013.
Webmd reports that a national drug register showed which ones had filled a prescription for a PDE5 inhibitor, which was about seven percent. Among the seven percent who were prescribed an erectile dysfunction drug, more than nine out of 10 received a PDE5 inhibitor.
Researchers then tracked the men for an average of three years to see how the drugs would affect their heart health.
“The drugs did not appear to significantly reduce risk of a follow-up heart attack or the need to have blocked arteries reopened,” Andersson said.
“Although the results provide evidence that drugs like Viagra and Cialis may benefit heart health, the study cannot prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship.
“It might just be that these men are healthy enough to pursue a more active sex life than men not taking an erectile dysfunction drug.
“Regardless, the study does not provide enough evidence to recommend a PDE5 inhibitor as a necessary prescription for heart attack patients.
“We cannot recommend at this stage that all patients with previous [heart attacks] should have PDE5 inhibitors.”
The study is scheduled for presentation March 17 at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.