Viagra May Be the Dementia Preventative We’ve Been Waiting For

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Viagra (one brand name for generic sildenafil) is used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension. I bet that usage for ED is far more common than for pulmonary hypertension.

From an article published in Dec 2021 by National Institutes of Health:

…the team analyzed insurance claims data from more than 7 million Americans. They found that the people (mostly men) who took sildenafil were 69% less likely to develop AD [Alzheimer’s Disease] over 6 years than those who did not take the drug. This association between sildenafil and AD held after adjusting for sex, age, and other diseases and conditions.

To understand how sildenafil might affect AD, the researchers grew neurons from stem cells derived from AD patients. Exposing the cells to sildenafil led to increased growth of neurites, which connect neurons to each other, and decreased tau phosphorylation, an early biomarker of AD.

Taken together, these results show an association between sildenafil use and reduced AD risk. But the researchers emphasize that they haven’t shown that sildenafil prevents or reverses AD.

These things usually don’t pan out, but one can hope. How often were these guys taking viagra? Once a month? Twice a week? To treat erectile dysfunction, sildenafil is typically taken as needed one hour before sexual activity. Typical dose for pulmonary hypertension is 20 mg by mouth three times a day, every day. Would this drug affect dementia in women? As they say, further studies are needed.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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