As it saves a nurse in a Covid coma in intensive care… The (other) surprising uses of Viagra

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Viagra has multiple uses beyond its most well-known benefit…

COULD VIAGRA be a Swiss army knife of drugs, helping to cure deadly diseases such as Covid, Alzheimer’s and cancer, while providing its most famous sexual benefit?

The multiple potential of the drug was highlighted this week when a respiratory nurse who had spent 28 days in a Covid coma came in after doctors gave her a high dose of the drug as part of an experimental treatment regimen .

Monica Almeida (37), a mother-of-two with double-bite asthma from Lincolnshire, says the medicine boosted blood flow around her body by relaxing the walls of blood vessels, which helped open the air sacs in his lungs.

She said she was only three days away from being off her ventilator when her condition started to improve and she woke up on December 14.

This is the first time the drug has been used on a Covid patient in the UK.

Viagra (or sildenafil, its generic name) was developed to treat angina, which causes painful chest pain due to restricted blood flow to the heart.

In trials, sildenafil showed little benefit for angina pain, but male volunteers reported an unusual side effect – erections. And in 1998, sildenafil was approved as the first proven drug for erectile dysfunction.

But it also seems to have other actions. Last month, researchers suggested it could help treat Alzheimer’s disease, the journal reported. natural aging.

US investigators analyzed data from seven million patients and found that men taking the drug had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease over a six-year period.

In lab tests, researchers found that sildenafil appears to target a form of protein, called tau, found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The tests also revealed that high doses of the drug increased brain cell growth. Previously, scientists investigated whether sildenafil could help people at risk of vascular dementia, which occurs when reduced blood flow damages the brain.

Such a benefit is more easily explained, as it boils down to the drug’s basic abilities to stimulate blood flow. Sildenafil is a vasodilator: it widens the blood vessels to allow the free flow of blood.

This is why sildenafil is also used to increase blood flow to damaged limbs, to prevent amputation and to treat pulmonary hypertension – high blood pressure in the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. This can cause severe loss of breath and chest pain.



Sildenafil – the generic name for Viagra – was originally developed to treat angina and stimulate blood flow

Sildenafil-related compounds may reverse signs of heart failure, according to a 2019 study in the journal Scientific reportswhich showed the benefits of blood stimulation “improved contraction in heart failure and reversed harmful structural damage.”

And in 2020, Indian researchers announced that a gel made from sildenafil could heal the damaged skin of cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

The scientists said the drug triggers the release of nitric oxide, a chemical that helps wound healing, by stimulating the flow of oxygen-rich blood.

Sildenafil can even help kill tumors in the lung, prostate, stomach, and ovaries.

According to New Zealand researchers, the drug encourages rogue cancer cells to kill themselves, a process called apoptosis. They report in the newspaper Anticancer agents in medicinal chemistry in 2018, how in tests sildenafil, used with chemotherapy drugs, shrinks tumors more effectively than when chemotherapy is used alone.

Another strange effect is its potential to treat jet lag. Studies in rodents published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007 showed that sildenafil can shift the biological clock to wake up and sleep earlier by altering the action of the hormone cyclic guanosine monophosphate.

Professor Gino Martini, former chief scientist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said sildenafil’s versatility stems from the fact that “many biological pathways in our body and brain are interdependent, and what affects one pathway can affect another. many others”.

He adds: “In the case of sildenafil, these additional effects are very incidental, especially since it is a widely used drug that has been tested for safety.”

But like any drug, it is not without risks. In people who have had heart attacks, strokes, or low blood pressure, sildenafil may exacerbate symptoms or cause a cross-reaction with other medications.

Meanwhile, Prof Martini says Monica Almeida’s case does not prove sildenafil is an effective cure for a serious Covid infection.

“The problem with the pandemic is that a lot of people have tried a lot of drugs on a lot of patients, and there may be random results that don’t tell us if something really works,” he says.

© Daily Mail

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