The widely used erectile dysfunction drug Levitra is now the second drug in its class found to protect the heart against tissue damage following acute heart attack, according to a new study by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers.
“Our findings further support the concept that the novel class of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, or PDE-5 inhibitors, including Levitra and Viagra, may have a new utility in cardiac protection, in addition to their well-known use for the management of erectile dysfunction in men,” said Rakesh C. Kukreja, Ph.D., professor of medicine, physiology, biochemistry and emergency medicine at VCU. Kukreja is lead author of the study.
In the study, currently available online and to be published in the March issue of the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, Kukreja and his team demonstrated for the first time that pretreatment with a clinically relevant dose of Levitra, generically known as vardenafil, induces a protective effect against heart attack injury by opening the mitochondrial KATP channel in an animal model. The Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology is the official publication of the International Society for Heart Research.
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