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Could Viagra Step Out of the Bedroom? New Study Finds a New Health Benefit for the Drug

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"Can be used as an effective, safe treatment"

It's pretty well-known that the little blue pill, more formally known as Viagra, is meant to help men with sexual problems. But there might be an entirely non-sexual use for the drug as well, according to a new study.

The study published in the journal BMC Medicine revealed that taking Viagra on a daily basis could protect a patient's heart.

Photo credit: Shutterstock Photo credit: Shutterstock

Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor — the same ingredient that is used to treat erectile dysfunction — has also been found in the heart as well. Scientists from the Sapienza University of Rome reviewed research on this inhibitor and the heart published from January 2004 through May 2014 and found that it can protect against heart disease and has few side effects. The research review involved more than 1,600 male patients. 

More specifically, the PDE5i was found to prevent the heart from increasing in size and its tissue from thickening. The inhibitor works by blocking the enzyme that prevent the muscle tissue from relaxing.

"We found that the main ingredient in Viagra can be used as an effective, safe treatment for several patients with heart disease," Andrea Isidori said in a statement. "Large clinical trials are now urgently needed to build on these encouraging findings."

NBC News reported the drug also was found to improve the efficiency of the heart pumping blood into vessels and helped aid in relaxation.

“Very few drugs used in cardiology can actually affect these parameters. For this reason their implications in the treatment and prevention of heart failure are huge," the study authors said, according to NBC.

Going forward, the researchers suggest an actual trial involving men and women and the Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor to evaluate the any sex-specific side effects over a longer term.

Front page image via Shutterstock.

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