unilad
Advert

Viagra Could Help Treat Alzheimer’s, Scientists Say

by : Emily Brown on : 07 Dec 2021 14:37
Viagra Could Help Treat Alzheimer's, Scientists SayAlamy

A US study has claimed that people who use Viagra could be 69% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-users.  

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio conducted the study in a bid to determine which of more than 1,600 Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs could be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease; the most common form of age-related dementia.

Advert

To determine the results, the team used a gene-mapping network to integrate genetic data and other sets of data. They gave higher scores to drugs that target two features of Alzheimer’s, amyloid and tau, in comparison to drugs that target just one or the other.

Study lead Dr Feixiong Cheng explained that sildenafil, which is branded as Viagra, was ‘shown to significantly improve cognition and memory in preclinical models’, therefore presenting as ‘the best drug candidate’ for treating Alzheimer’s.

Cheng added: ‘Sildenafil may have neuroprotective effects and reduce levels of toxic tau proteins.’

Advert

Furthering their study, which was published in Nature Aging, the scientists examined the relationship between sildenafil and cases of Alzheimer’s disease by comparing those who used the drug to those who didn’t in claims from more than seven million people in the US.

The results showed that after six years of follow-up, sildenafil users were 69% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-sildenafil users.

Viagra pill (Alamy)Alamy

The team then offered insights into how the drug might influence disease-related brain changes by developing a lab model that showed sildenafil increased brain cell growth and targeted tau proteins, The Guardian reports.

Advert

Cheng has stressed that the study does not demonstrate a causal relationship between sildenafil and Alzheimer’s disease, and that further research is needed using a placebo to determine the effectiveness of the drug against Alzheimer’s, though Dr Ivan Koychev, a senior clinical researcher at the University of Oxford, has noted that the results are an ‘exciting development’.

Koychev noted the findings point ‘to a specific drug which may offer a new approach to treating the condition’.

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, acknowledged that while ‘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’, the research ‘doesn’t prove that sildenafil is responsible for reducing dementia risk, or that it slows or stops the disease’.

Advert

Kohlhaas added: ‘The only way to test this would be in a large-scale clinical trial measuring sildenafil effect against the usual standard of care.’

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Sport

The Jamaican Bobsled Team Have Qualified For The Beijing Olympics

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: Science, Alzheimers, dementia, Now

Credits

The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Viagra could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, study finds