It’s been 18 years since the FDA approved sildenafil to treat men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). Under the well-known brand name Viagra, this “little blue pill” has grown to hold almost half of sexual dysfunction market share.
But, sildenafil wasn’t originally intended to help men with ED. Many have forgotten that before it was associated with a re-invigorated love life, sildenafil was a life-saving drug for people experiencing cardiovascular problems.
Sildenafil for pulmonary hypertension
Sildenafil will help cases of pulmonary arterial hypertension (8); a lung disorder resulting from the narrowing of arteries (pulmonary arteries) that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. This narrowing causes abnormally high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries that strains the right ventricle of the heart and causes it to expand. If it continues long enough the right ventricle will lose the ability to pump sufficient blood to the lungs, possibly leading to heart failure. Sildenafil is marketed under the brand name Revatio to treat pulmonary hypertension.
Benefits extend to diabetics
Sildenafil has been shown to reduce diabetes-induced oxidative stress and even improve insulin sensitivity to prevent type 2 diabetes (9). According to research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, sildenafil can not only treat ED but will prevent type 2 diabetes in patients experiencing pre-diabetes, while it reduces the risk of kidney and heart disease.
It raises serum testosterone levels
20 patients at an average age of 55 years were given the PDE-5 inhibitor Tadalafil over a 12-month study period. Researchers observed sustained improvement in the men’s sexual function after one year. Tadalafil administration was associated with increased testosterone and reduced estrogen levels. The theory is that chronic exposure to tadalafil might improve the hormonal profile that regulates erectile function (10).
Can effectively treat prostate enlargement
Benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH (prostate enlargement) and ED are not only linked by similar risk factors like age and cardiovascular disease but also at a molecular level. According to studies, PDE-5 inhibitors are a practical treatment option to relieve moderate to severe urinary symptoms of BPH (11).
PDE-5 inhibitors and premature ejaculation
Premature ejaculation (PE), while not a physically harmful condition, causes psychological distress in men who suffer it. A recent study (12) looked at whether sildenafil could increase the time to ejaculation and reduce the time needed to become erect again. The study concluded that sildenafil used alone wasn’t better than a placebo or combination treatment to treat PD.