A drug used to pump up men’s sex lives has been found to be good for the heart.
Scientists say the erectile-dysfunction (ED) drug, Tadalafil, was found to slow and even reverse the progression of heart failure in sheep.
A team of British researchers used the drug on sheep with pacemaker-induced heart failure. They found that, within a short period, the heart failure not only stopped, but its effects were reversed.
“Tadalafil could now be a possible therapy for heart failure,” says Professor Andrew Trafford, lead author of a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Tadalafil works on hearts that aren’t properly pumping blood by blocking an enzyme and restoring the organ’s ability to respond to adrenaline.
Scientists have long been aware of the link between treatments for both heart failure and erectile dysfunction. “Viagra-type drugs were initially developed as potential treatments for heart disease before they were found to have unexpected benefits in the treatment of erectile dysfunction,” says Trafford. Now, he says, the drug has come full circle.
While Tadalafil’s effects have yet to be tested on humans, sheep have physiologically similar hearts — and many men may not have realized they were guinea pigs.
“It’s entirely possible that some patients taking it for erectile dysfunction have also unwittingly enjoyed a protective effect on their heart,” says Trafford.
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