Home Lifestyle Health Viagra could cut risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 18%

Viagra could cut risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 18%

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Viagra could cut risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 18%

Erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study. Researchers followed more than 250,000 men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction over a period of five years and compared those who were prescribed drugs for erectile dysfunction with those who were not.

They found that those who were taking erectile dysfunction drugs were 18 per cent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. This means drugs such as Viagra – which work by dilating blood vessels to allow more blood to flow through – may also help prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research paper, published in the journal Neurology, analysed 269,725 male participants, with an average age of 59, over five years. Every participant had been recently diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, and 55 per cent had prescription drugs for the condition, while 45 per cent did not.

None of the men had problems with thinking or memory – as can be expected in those with Alzheimer’s. By the end of the study, 1,119 men had developed Alzheimer’s disease of which 749 were taking erectile dysfunction drugs, corresponding to a rate of 8.1 cases per 10,000 person-years, and 370 of these were not taking erectile dysfunction drugs, which corresponds to a rate of 9.7 cases per 10,000 person-years.

So-called ‘person-years’ represent both the number of people in the study and the amount of time each person spent in the study. Once the researchers adjusted for factors that could affect the rate of Alzheimer’s, such as age, smoking status, and alcohol consumption, they found that people who took erectile dysfunction drugs were 18% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than people who did not take erectile dysfunction drugs.

The association was strongest in those who were issued the most prescriptions over the study period.

Study author Dr Ruth Brauer, of University College London, said: “Although we’re making progress with the new treatments for Alzheimer’s that work to clear amyloid plaques in the brain for people in the early stages of the disease, we desperately need treatments that can prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

“These results are encouraging and warrant further research, which is needed to confirm these findings, learn more about the potential benefits and mechanisms of these drugs, and look into the optimal dosage.”

She added: “A randomised, controlled trial with both male and female participants is warranted to determine whether these findings would apply to women as well.”

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