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Viagra protects the heart: back to the future for the love pills

Everybody’s heard of Viagra (sildenafil). It was the first phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i) marketed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. But few people are aware of the other beneficial effects and potential new uses for this class of drugs.

Viagra was originally tested for heart problems – angina pectoris, a chest pain associated with coronary heart disease – on the basis of its vasodilatory effects (in other words it widens the blood vessels). Its results as an anti-angina drug were only modest, but patients reported the unexpected “side effect” of improved erections. The focus of interest in this drug shifted rapidly from the heart to the bedroom.

In…

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Last Updated : Saturday, December 11, 2021