Viagra may lower Alzheimer's risk, study suggests 6 months ago

Viagra may lower Alzheimer's risk, study suggests

Scientists have found that those who take viagra could be 69 per cent less likely to develop the disease

A study in the US has found that viagra could be an effective treatment against Alzheimer's disease.

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Alzheimer's, which is the most common form of age-related dementia, affects hundreds of millions of people around the world and there is currently no effective treatment against the devastating disease.

Research at the Cleveland Clinic has been trying to determine which of the 1,600 Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs in the US could be an effective treatment against the disease.

They found that sildenafil - the generic name for Viagra - was the "best drug candidate."

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Dr Feixiong Cheng, the study lead, said: "Sildenafil, which has been shown to significantly improve cognition and memory in preclinical models, presented as the best drug candidate."

According to the Guardian, researchers then examined the relationship between sildenafil and Alzheimer’s disease outcomes by comparing sildenafil users to non-users.

They found that sildenafil users were 69 per cent less likely to develop Alzheimer's after six years of follow-up, compared to those who didn't take the drug.

Researchers then developed a lab model to further analyse the drug's effect on the disease. This showed that sildenafil increased brain cell growth and targeted tau proteins - one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's.

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The findings were published in Nature Aging.

Cheng added that the study does not demonstrate a causal relationship between sildenafil and Alzheimer's and that randomised clinical trials involving both men and women were required to determine the drug's efficiency.

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Professor Tara Spires-Jones, deputy director of the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, was also cautious about the findings, saying: "More work will be needed to know whether this drug can indeed lower risk for Alzheimer's disease.

"While these data are interesting scientifically, based on this study, I would not rush out to start taking sildenafil as a prevention for Alzheimer’s disease."

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: "Being able to repurpose a drug already licensed for other health conditions could help speed up the drug discovery process and bring about life-changing dementia treatments sooner.

"Importantly, this research doesn’t prove that sildenafil is responsible for reducing dementia risk, or that it slows or stops the disease. The only way to test this would be in a large-scale clinical trial measuring sildenafil effect against the usual standard of care."

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