Pharmaceutical

Researchers explain reason for melanoma risk with Viagra

melanoma Researchers explain reason for melanoma risk with ViagraA new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association warns that men who use the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra are twice as likely to develop the deadly skin cancer melanoma than men who did not use the drug.

The study involved 25,000 male health professionals who were followed for 10 years. Researchers noted which men developed melanoma or other skin cancers, and whether they took Viagra. They found men who used or had ever used Viagra were at an increased risk of melanoma, but not other cancers such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.

The study did not suggest that Viagra causes melanoma, but that men who used the drug were more susceptible to developing the disease.

A follow-up study challenged those results by suggesting that men who take Viagra were more likely to be out in the sun or more active outdoors. “The problem with that idea, though, is that the other types of skin cancer risks were not increased,” said dermatologist Dr. Brian Horvath. “So, if it was just sun exposure, you’d expect all skin cancers would increase. In this situation, just the melanoma risk was increased.”

The reason why Viagra is suspect is because the drug works by blocking an enzyme called phosphodiesterase. Most melanomas have a mutation that also blocks that enzyme. This genetic pathway can make melanoma more aggressive.

Researchers say more research is needed to confirm the risk, but men who are using or are considering using Viagra should be aware of Viagra side effects and use sunscreen when outdoors and limit their sun exposure.

Source: Miami CBS