Will taking Viagra cut the risk of Alzheimer’s disease?

A new study suggests that the erectile dysfunction pill Viagra could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

>> Read more trending news

The study, done by the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, showed the drug targeting some of the proteins that accumulate in a person’s brain and cause the dementia seen in the disease.

Viagra, whose clinical name is sildenafil, was developed to improve blood flow to the heart by relaxing or widening blood vessels.

After the pill was used for the heart, researchers found that men with erectile dysfunction could get an additional benefit from the drug.

Repurposing a drug for another condition is faster than introducing a new drug to the market.

The new study looked at a database of 7 million patients taking Viagra and found that men who were on the drug had a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

More studies on the topic are worthwhile, researchers told the journal Nature Aging.

Dr. Feixiong Cheng, lead researcher for the group, said the findings were encouraging but more research would be needed.

“Because our findings only establish an association between sildenafil use and reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, we are now planning a mechanistic trial and a phase II randomized clinical trial to test causality and confirm sildenafil’s clinical benefits for Alzheimer’s patients.”

The studies showed that high doses of the drug increased brain cell growth and reduced protein accumulation.