MEN who take Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction could have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.

The study saw nearly 270,000 men take part, with an average age of 59 – the participants were newly-diagnosed with erectile dysfunction and did not have dementia symptoms at the start of the research.

The men were then followed by researchers for an average of five years.

55% took drugs including Viagra, Cialis, vardenafil and avanafil, whereas the rest did not.

fake Viagra pills found
Viagra may have health benefits – and not just the obvious. Credit: Cordon Press

Men who had been prescribed drugs for their erectile dysfunction were 18% less likely to develop dementia, a degenerative brain condition that affects over one in five of Europeans aged 65 or over.

However, the study was observational, so researchers could not prove that taking Viagra caused the perceived reduction in risk.

Nevertheless, they believe that the link, which has been hinted at in previous research, is worth further research.

One possible explanation is that Viagra increases blood flow in the brain, and thus has a protective effect against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Matthew Adesuyan, an author of the study who works at the UCL School of Pharmacy, said: “The results are encouraging and may point to a new way to reduce Alzheimer’s risk”.

The potential link was strongest amongst men who had used viagra the most, suggesting that using the drug more regularly may have a more significant impact.

The rate of Alzheimer’s amongst men who took the drugs was 8.1 cases per 10,000 person-years, and 9.7 cases per 10,000 person-years for those who were not prescribed drugs. 

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