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Alzheimer’s: Viagra may be linked to lower risk of disease, study suggests

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Viagra may be a useful treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.

The erectile dysfunction drug was associated with a 69% reduced risk of Alzheimer’s when accounting for other factors such as race, age and sex.

Men taking Viagra (also known by its generic name sildenafil) had a substantially lower risk and researchers say more work should now be done into the apparent link.

The finding came after experts from Cleveland in the US looked at insurance claims data from more than seven million people and used computer modelling to find drugs that might be useful for dementia.

Hundreds of millions of people are affected by Alzheimer’s around the world and there is currently no effective treatment.

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Follow-up work will include a clinical trial to try to confirm the potential link.

Lead investigator Dr Feixiong Cheng, from the Cleveland Clinic, said: “Because our findings only establish an association between sildenafil use and reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, we are now planning a mechanistic trial and a phase two randomised clinical trial to test causality and confirm sildenafil’s clinical benefits for Alzheimer’s patients.”

Viagra was originally designed as a drug for the heart, but it was discovered it also increased blood flow to the penis.

Pfizer brought it on to the market in 1998 and the drug proved very lucrative for the US firm. However, cheaper generic versions were eventually released after its patents expired.

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