Pharmaceutical

Men taking Viagra should protect their skin from too much sun due to increased risk for melanoma

viagra Men taking Viagra should protect their skin from too much sun due to increased risk for melanomaMen who take the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra should protect their skin from too much sun and have routine skin checks for melanoma and other skin cancers, says Dr. Hensin Tsao with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. Tsao’s advice comes on the heels of a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that shows that men used the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra were 84 percent more likely to develop melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, over a 10-year period compared to men who did not use the drug. The study also found that the risk remained high in men who had discontinued use of the drug.

“This is certainly a provocative study and warrants more careful replication,” Tsao told Daneil Pendick, with Harvard Men’s Health Watch.

The study involved about 31,500 men who were given questionnaires every two years regarding their health and lifestyle. Among them, nearly 30,000 said they had never used Viagra and among those men 128 developed melanoma. About 1,600 men reported using Viagra and among them, 14 had developed the deadly skin disease. That translates to 4.3 of every 1,000 men who didn’t take Viagra developing melanoma, and 8.6 of every 1,000 men who did take the drug getting the skin cancer.

Viagra’s active ingredient is silidenafil, which is in a class of drugs known as phosphodiesterase (PDE) 5A inhibitors. The drug affects the same genetic pathway that allows skin cancer to be more aggressive, and could be a factor in causing men on the drug to develop melanoma.

Melanoma can be cured if found early, but if left undetected, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body making it difficult to treat. Melanoma tends to be more aggressive than other forms of skin cancer, and accounts for nearly 80 percent of all skin cancer-related deaths. More than 8,000 people die from the disease each year.

Source: Harvard Health