Viagra’s Active Ingredient May Prevent Alzheimer’s, Study Suggests


Alzheimer: Sildenafil, a drug known worldwide under the name Viagra, used to treat erectile dysfunction, and also as Revatio, used in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), has just gained possible new applications: the prevention and treatment of breast disease. Alzheimer’s (AD).

A survey published on Monday (6) in the scientific journal Nature Aging showed that the prescription of the drug can reduce the risk of developing this type of dementia.

The conclusion was built based on a proof of concept (practical model) of drug research based on endophenotypes, that is, on the measurable characteristics that lie between the disease and the genetic constitution of individuals (genotype). Thus, the survey analyzed pharmacoepidemiological data from insurance claims for 7.23 million individuals in the US.

Led by Feixiong Cheng, professor of Molecular Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, the team used a new model computational approach, which crossed genetic and biological data to build 13 disease “endophenotype modules” with biological signatures of GIVES.

How is an endophenotypic study performed?

The 13 modules obtained were, in turn, mapped into an extended network of 351,444 human “protein-protein” interactions. Within the network, the proximities generated points for more than 1,600 FDA-approved drugs, where a higher score means that that active ingredient interacts with various molecular targets within modules specifically linked to AD.

After adjustments for age, sex, race and disease comorbidity, the work resulted in four cohorts of tested drugs (diltiazem, glimepiride, losartan and metformin) which, “filtered” by propensity scores, confirmed that sildenafil is significantly associated with a reduced risk of AD in all four sets of medications. After six years of follow-up, the use of sildenafil resulted in a 69% reduction in AD diagnoses.

However, as the current study design fails to demonstrate a causal relationship between drug use and the risk of AD, the authors caution, more robust studies are still needed to assess the effectiveness of sildenafil in this regard.

A disorder that affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) does not currently have an effective form of treatment.