Disorders of Aging: January/February 2022

Taking Viagra Cuts the Risk of Alzheimer’s By Up To 69% and It Could Be Prescribed to beat Dementia, Study Suggests

Nick McDermott

Dec. 6, 2021 (The-Sun.com) — Taking Viagra slashes Alzheimer’s risk by two-thirds, research suggests.

Scientists claim the love drug may help boost brain health and cut levels of toxic proteins that trigger dementia.

Experts analysed data on 7.2 million U.S. adults and found regular users had a 69 per cent lower chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over the next six years.

Medics say the findings, published in the journal Nature Aging suggest the little blue pill could soon be prescribed to tackle dementia.

They are now planning a fresh study to test the benefits of sildenafil – the generic version of Viagra – in early Alzheimer’s patients.

A team from Cleveland Clinic looked at whether any of 1,600 approved drugs could be repurposed to tackle the underlying causes of the disease.

Lead researcher Dr Feixiong Cheng, from Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute, said: “Sildenafil, which has been shown to significantly improve cognition and memory in preclinical models, presented as the best drug candidate.

“Sildenafil may have neuroprotective effects and reduce levels of toxic tau proteins.” Around 850,000 Brits currently have the brain-wasting disease – and the figure is expected to hit one million within a decade.

Two in three cases of dementia are due to Alzheimer’s.

Dr Jack Auty, lecturer in the Medical Sciences at the University of Tasmania, said: “This is exciting stuff.

“But we need further research. In the field of Alzheimer’s disease research, we have been excited by many drugs over the years, only to have our hopes dashed in clinical trials.”

And Dr Catherine Hall, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Sussex University, said sildenafil could be boost brain power by improving blood flow.

She added: “It does seem that the drug is doing something.

“Sildenafil treatment is an exciting prospect for prevention of Alzheimer’s, but it is not clear how to best move on from this research.

“Is it feasible to treat everyone with sildenafil for years before they are likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, or would this cause more problems than it solves”

Dr Susan Kohlhaas, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, was cautious about the findings.

She said: “While sildenafil is most well-known as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, it’s also used to treat high blood pressure in the lungs.

“In this study, researchers also found that its use is linked with fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease in American adults.

“The researchers conducted lab-based experiments to give an indication as to why the drug may have impact diseases like Alzheimer’s, but these early-stage experiments would need follow-up in more thorough tests.”

Meanwhile, British researchers are optimistic Alzheimer’s could be reversed one day after finding a £15 vaccine could be used to restore memory.

Scientists said they are “hugely excited” by the findings after seeing promising results in mice.

Meanwhile, health officials in the US approved the first new drug for Alzheimer’s disease in nearly 20 years.

Despite controversy over the trial results the Food and Drug Administration said it granted approval to the drug developed by Biogen.