Pharmaceutical

New study confirms Viagra may increase risk of melanoma

Viagra single pack New study confirms Viagra may increase risk of melanomaPDE5 inhibitors such as Viagra and Cialis, used to treat erectile dysfunction, have been notably accused over the past few years of being associated with melanoma risk. In spite of the fact that less than one percent of skin cancers are melanoma, it is the most deadly form of skin cancer, causing a vast majority of skin cancer deaths; in fact one person dies of melanoma every hour.

Men older than 50 have an increased risk for melanoma, and they are most likely to be prescribed these drugs. Last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put all PDE5 inhibitors on a watch list and they are evaluating the need for regulatory action regarding this potentially serious risk of skin melanomas.

Last month, researchers from Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing, China; and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston published a meta-analysis of the available observational studies that had examined the association between PDE5 inhibitors and skin cancer. They found five observational studies that had been published before July 13, 2016, and included them in their analysis, which was published on July 17 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The studies compared those who had used PDE5 inhibitors with those who had not used the drugs and the meta-analysis found a statistically significant association between PDE5 use and two types of skin cancer, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. They did not find a significant association with squamous cell carcinoma. The researchers specifically noted that for the melanoma risk that was found, the results were not affected by dose of PDE5 inhibitor, study design, or study region. “Our sensitivity analysis confirmed the stability of the results,” they wrote.

The researchers concluded that “Use of PDE5 inhibitors may be associated with a slightly increased risk for development of melanoma and basal cell carcinoma but not squamous cell carcinoma. However, further large well-conducted prospective studies with adequate adjustment for potential confounders are required for confirmation.”

Sources:
U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
Skin Cancer Foundation
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Righting Injustice