LIFESTYLE

Viagra Doesn't Just Lend A Hand In The Bedroom, It Can Treat Heart Disease Too

20/10/2014 09:47 BST | Updated 20/10/2014 09:59 BST

Viagra has a new health property, and it's nothing to do with sex.

A new study has found that the blue pill could provide an effective treatment for heart disease, too.

viagra

Trials of the impotency drug have found that it features an active ingredient which improves the heart performance of patients with a range of conditions. They also found that the pill has no adverse effect on blood pressure.

Most importantly, it helped prevent harmful thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber caused by the organ having to work too hard.

The condition, known as left ventricular hypertrophy, can lead to heart failure, an inability to pump blood around the body.

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"We found that the main ingredient in Viagra can be used as an effective, safe treatment for several patients with heart disease," said lead researcher, Dr Andrea Isidori, from Sapienza University in Rome.

"Large clinical trials are now urgently needed to build on these encouraging findings."

Viagra contains an enzyme inhibitor that allows smooth muscle tissue to be more relaxed. This in turn aids blood flow and helps combat erectile dysfunction.

The Italian researchers pooled together data from 1,622 patients who took part in trials looking at the Viagra ingredient's heart protection potential.

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The chemical, PDE5i, effectively prevented the heart increasing in size and changing shape in patients with left ventricular hypertrophy.

It also benefited patients with other heart conditions while maintaining healthy blood pressure.

Writing in the journal BMC Medicine, the authors conclude that PDE5i could safely be administered to men who suffer from heart muscle thickening and early stage heart failure.

However, they said further research was needed to assess the Viagra ingredient's effect on women with heart conditions.