Sildenafil citrate (Viagra), a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in millions of men, reduces the stimulatory effects of hormonal stress on the heart by half, according to results of a new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins.
While sildenafil is more widely known for helping genital blood vessels expand to maintain an erection and, more recently, as a treatment for pulmonary hypertension, it has been thought to have little direct effect on the human heart.
In the heart, sildenafil blunts the strengthened heart beat caused by chemically induced stress, thereby lessening the excess amount of blood and force used to pump it to the body, according to study senior author and cardiologist David Kass, M.D., a professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute.
David March | EurekAlert!
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