Pharmaceutical

Viagra may harm patients with residual pulmonary hypertension

viagra Viagra may harm patients with residual pulmonary hypertensionResearchers have been surprised to discover that Viagra, or sildenafil, which is commonly prescribed off-label to treat retrograde pulmonary hypertension, may actually be harmful to these patients, increasing risk of hospitalization and other negative clinical outcomes.

The Spanish researchers studied 200 patients in 17 hospitals who had residual pulmonary hypertension after correction of a valvular lesion. They were randomly divided into two groups, one given 40 mg of sildenafil three times a day for six months, the other a placebo for the same amount of time. The researchers tracked deaths, hospital admissions for heart failure, tolerance for physical activity, and reports of well-being and found that those taking sildenafil had worse clinical outcomes than those taking the placebo.

Principal investigator Dr. Javier Bermejo, a cardiologist at Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañon, Madrid, Spain said: “Compared to patients taking placebo, the chance for worse clinical outcomes ― as defined by the combined clinical score – was more than twice as high in those taking sildenafil. We were unable to identify any particular subset of patients who could potentially benefit from sildenafil.”

Pulmonary hypertension is increased blood pressure in the pulmonary artery and the lungs. It can be caused by the high pressure in the left side of the heart that is associated with valvular disease. Even after successful valve treatment, the symptoms may remain long-term. Because of its ability to widen blood vessels and strengthen blood flood, sildenafil has been thought to be an effective treatment for pulmonary hypertension.

“We were surprised to find that decompensations requiring hospital admission were more frequent in patients taking sildenafil,” said Dr Bermejo, according to the European Society of Cardiology.

“This is the first clinical trial focused on this complication,” he continued. “We found that in patients with residual pulmonary hypertension after successfully corrected valvular heart disease, six month treatment with sildenafil leads to worse clinical outcomes than placebo.”

Dr Bermejo concluded: “Long-term usage of sildenafil for treating residual pulmonary hypertension in patients with valvular heart disease should be avoided. The high incidence of events during the trial emphasises the need for further research to prevent and treat this complication in patients with valvular disease.”

Viagra has been studied for other reasons by researchers in the UK, the US, Sweden and Germany who were unsurprised by the results. These independent researchers from around the world knew that many more aggressive melanomas naturally inhibit PDE5 and they sought to discover what impact drugs that inhibit PDE5, such as Viagra, might have on melanoma growth. Their results confirmed suspicions, finding statistically significant associations between melanoma risk and the use of these erectile dysfunction drugs; that blocking PDE5’s “major impact is to stimulate a dramatic increase in melanoma cell invasion;” and that taking sildenafil/Viagra causes melanoma to “grow more vigorously.”

With well-known drug Viagra taken by countless men around the world, both for treatment of erectile dysfunction as well as off-label for other uses, researchers will continue to focus their attention on it.

Source:
European Society of Cardiology