Pharmaceutical

New study links Viagra to deadly skin cancer

viagra New study links Viagra to deadly skin cancerResearchers recently uncovered an important pathway where drugs known as PDE5A inhibitors, which include Viagra (sildenafil) and other drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension, could make a person more susceptible to melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer. Now a new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, has connected the dots.

The study analyzed data from more than 25,000 men and found that those who had recently used sildenafil had nearly twice the risk of developing melanoma than men who had not used the drug. Men who had used sildenafil at one time but discontinued use still had a similar risk.

There was no increased risk for other skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma in men using sildenafil. Nor were there any associations that would suggest those with erectile dysfunction are at greater risk of developing melanoma.

The study was limited only to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. It did not explore similar risks with other PDE5A inhibitors, such as Cialis (tadalafil) or Levitra (vardenafil). However, since these drugs are longer-acting, researchers say it is likely they may result in an even greater risk for melanoma.

Researchers pointed out that the study was merely observational and that it did not demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship. However, it is advised that men using or who have ever used drugs to treat erectile dysfunction have their skin checked regularly by a doctor and protect themselves from the sun using sunscreens and protective clothing.

Source: Forbes