How erection drug could cure heart failure – Researchers
The erectile dysfunction drug Tadalafil, which is similar to Viagra and sold under the brand name Cialis, was found to slow and even reverse the progression of the condition in sheep by researchers at the University of Manchester.
The British Heart Foundation-funded study is a breakthrough in the hunt to cure the disease, which kills 66,000 Britons each year.
Leading professor Andrew Trafford said it was ‘entirely possible’ the treatment will work on humans.
He said: “This discovery is an important advance in a devastating condition which causes misery for thousands of people across the UK and beyond.
“We do have limited evidence from human trials and epidemiological studies that show Tadalafil can be effective in treating heart failure.
“This study provides further confirmation, adds mechanistic details and demonstrates that Tadalafil could now be a possible therapy for heart failure.
“It is entirely possible that some patients taking it for erectile dysfunction have also unwittingly enjoyed a protective effect on their heart.”
Heart failure occurs when the heart is too weak to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
It causes a build-up of fluid that backs up into the lungs, resulting in breathlessness as well fluid retention, resulting in swelling of different parts of the body.
But in the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, Cialis was shown to reduce and even reverse the symptoms.
Sheep were used as the physiology of their hearts are similar to that of humans, researchers said.
In the study, the animals were fitted with pacemakers to induce the symptoms of heart failure.
When the symptoms started worsening, the sheep were administered with a dose of the drug similar to that given to men for erectile dysfunction.
The research team found the drug altered a series of chemical reactions in the body and restored the heart’s ability to respond to adrenaline.
The treatment also boosted the heart’s ability to force blood around the body when working harder.