The anti-impotence drug Viagra appears to be safe for many men with congestive heart failure, and it has the added benefit of relieving them of depression, according to new Canadian research.
The research, published in today's edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine, was conducted on 35 men with CHF who did not use nitrates. Patients suffering from myocardial ischemia (a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle) were also excluded from the study.
The men took sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) for six weeks and a placebo for six weeks. Tests showed when they were taking Viagra, the men described their quality of life as greatly improved. The drug also lowered blood pressure, reports &to=http://www.theglobeandmail.com' target=_blank>TheGlobeAndMail
Many men with congestive heart failure can safely use Viagra to treat the impotence that often comes with their dysfunction - and lift their depression at the same time, a new study shows.
By doing so, the study found, men were able to rekindle their sex life, and to shake off the depression that accompanied their chronic heart condition and the erectile dysfunction.
Webster said the condition can be depressing, and drugs used to treat it, like beta blockers, often cause impotence. "Many of them haven't had any sexual activity for years," Webster said.
Such men have not been prescribed Viagra in the past because of concern that the drug would dilate their blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure, and perhaps cause illness or death. Sildenafil, which is sold under the brand name Viagra, works by dilating blood vessels in the penis, but it also affects blood vessels in the rest of the body.
The men were carefully screened to make sure their hearts were strong enough to withstand the sexual activity, said Webster. Half the group took Viagra for six weeks, then shifted to a placebo for six weeks. The other half took the placebo for six weeks, then the Viagra.