Muscular Dystrophy Patients Benefit From Viagra

Armen Hareyan's picture

Muscular dystrophy patients may benefit from well known anti-impotence pills Viagra.

A study by Montreal Heart Institute examined mice with animal type of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The mice were given sildenafil - the active ingredient of Viagra - in similar doses that men take for erectile dysfunction treatment. The drug showed significant improvement in heart muscle cells of mice.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a disease weakening muscles. The disease has a genetic background and starts affecting children as young as age of 5. By the age of 13 patients loose the ability to walk. The disease is killing patients in very young ages - from 20 to 30.


The study is based on the fact that Viagra prevents cGMP molecule loss, which is responsible for blood vessel dilatation. As an anti-impotence drug sildenafil increases blood flow in penis, and in this trial the drug ensures that heart receives proper blood flow. When heart blood flow is on a proper level, heart can stay healthy even when muscle cells get weakened.

Researchers also stimulated an increase of cGMP molecules in mice heart and found that it improves heart function in mice.

The research also shows that other erectile dysfunction drugs, such as vardenafil (brand name Levitra), and tadalafil (brand name Cialis), are also effective for muscular dystrophy patients.

Sildenafil is a well known ingredient shown to be safe and effective for adults. It has been used in drugs for treating heart problems, pulmonary hypertension, and erectile dysfunction. Now it shows to be effective for mice with muscular dystrophy, but still further research is needed to ensure it will be safe for human patients, because not all human studies have the same results as mice studies do.