Viagra may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s by more than 50%, new study finds

By Staff 6 Min Read

A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reports that sildenafil, Viagra’s main component, may be useful in treating people with the brain disorder

The seminal compound in Viagra, sildenafil, may do more than get men excited as a new study suggests it can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by more than a whopping 50%.

Sildenafil also forms the basis of Revatio, which is a medication for pulmonary arterial hypertension. The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease discusses the possibility of the compound being used in treatments for the disease. Researchers of Cleveland Clinic reported seeing a 30% to 54% reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in people who regularly consume sildenafil for erectile dysfunction or pulmonary arterial hypertension, compared to others who did not.

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia and is quite common in the US. The Alzheimer’s Association(AA) reported in 2023 that nearly 6.7 million Americans suffer from the disease. It’s the fifth-leading cause of death for Americans—a figure that is sure to rise as the current population grows older.

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AA researchers say deaths from stroke, heart disease and HIV decreased during the last two decades. However, the prevalence of Alzheimer-induced deaths have risen by more than 145% between 2000 and 2019. One does not feel the effects of Alzheimer’s right away as it is a progressive ailment, growing worse and worse over time.

Experts say it typically begins with memory loss and eventually makes communicating with others very difficult as they can’t respond efficiently to whichever environment they are in. In most cases, one does not feel the effects of Alzheimer’s at the onset. Researchers say that once an individual begins to display signs of acute dementia, they are too far gone.

In order to convert the data for millions of patients into two medical databases, MarketScan Medicare Supplemental and Clinformatics, the authors of the current study used computer models. There was a 54% decrease in Alzheimer’s cases in the MarketScan database. It was thirty percent in the Clinformatics database.

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Subsequent to the data analysis, sildenafil was found to be a medication of interest, and a laboratory study was conducted. Researchers who used brain samples from Alzheimer’s patients discovered that sildenafil reduced the amounts of harmful tau proteins. These proteins accumulate in the brain as Alzheimer’s disease worsens.

These tau proteins were long thought to be associated with amyloid plaques as potential causes of Alzheimer’s disease. But the fundamental studies on amyloid plaques have been refuted. Neurotoxic tau proteins are still thought to be a key component of Alzheimer’s disease, despite this.

Additionally, they noticed that sildenafil-exposed neurons enhanced brain development and function, decreased inflammation, and altered metabolic processes linked to Alzheimer’s-related cognitive decline.

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