Viagra could be used to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease

Viagra could be used to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease

Viagra could be a useful treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of age-related dementia, affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Viagra could be used to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of age-related dementia, affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. However, despite the growing number of cases, there is currently no effective treatment.

Using an extensive genetic mapping network, Cleveland Clinic researchers integrated genetic and other data to determine which of more than 1,600 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration might be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. They awarded higher scores to drugs that target both amyloid and tau, two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, compared with those that target only one or the other.

“Sildenafil, which has been shown to significantly improve cognition and memory in preclinical models, proved to be the best drug candidate,” said Dr. Feixiong Cheng, director of the study. Viagra is the trade name for sildenafil.

The researchers then used a claims database of more than 7 million people in the U.S. to examine the relationship between sildenafil and Alzheimer’s disease outcomes, comparing sildenafil users with nonusers.

They found that sildenafil users were 69% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than nonusers of sildenafil after six years of follow-up.

To further explore the drug’s possible effect on Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers developed a laboratory model that showed that sildenafil increased brain cell growth and targeted tau proteins, providing insight into how it might influence brain changes associated with the disease. The results were published in Nature Aging.

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