Home HEALTH Erectile dysfunction drug may help treat heart failure

Erectile dysfunction drug may help treat heart failure

A drug for erectile dysfunction may also help treat heart failure, a preliminary study in animals suggests. In the study, published today (May 1) in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers gave the drug tadalafil (brand name Cialis) to sheep that had advanced heart failure. The researchers found that the treatment improved the strength of the animals’ heart contractions and that it reversed some of the harmful cellular effects seen in heart failure.
The finding adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs could be beneficial for individuals with heart failure, a condition in which the heart muscle can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s normal demands. Heart failure is a serious condition, and existing treatments aren’t always effective. About half of the people who develop heart failure die within five years of their diagnosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Still, because the new study was conducted in sheep, further research will be needed to see if the findings apply to humans as well.
In addition, people should not selftreat their heart failure with tadalafil, study lead author Andrew Trafford, a professor of cardiac pathophysiology at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. Not only are more studies needed to confirm the findings, but also, tadalafil may have serious side effects when combined with other drugs. People should speak with their doctor before taking erectile dysfunction drugs.
The most wellknown ED drug, sildenafil (brand name Viagra), was originally intended as a treatment for angina, or chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. However, in early studies, the drug did not produce the heart effects the researchers had hoped for. But it did have an interesting side effect among men: stronger and more persistent erections. This finding spurred more research and eventually led to the approval of sildenafil as an ED drug.
Sildenafil and other drugs in this class (including tadalafil) work by inhibiting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5), which is found in various tissues, including the penis, but also in blood vessels. PDE5 plays a role in regulating blood flow, and some studies suggest that PDE5 inhibitors may also affect heart cells.
Although sildenafil didn’t initially pan out as a heart drug, subsequent studies suggested that PDE5 inhibitors might have heart benefits.