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Viagra, Cialis Plus a Heart Med Could Be a Dangerous Combo

MONDAY, Jan. 15, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Taking nitrates for heart problems alongside erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra or Cialis could possibly be a prescription for trouble, a brand new study warns.



Men who mix the 2 varieties of medications have a better risk of death or suffering a heart-related health emergency, researchers reported Jan. 15 within the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“Physicians are seeing a rise of requests for erectile dysfunction drugs from men with cardiovascular diseases,” said senior researcher Dr. Daniel Peter Andersson, an associate professor on the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. “Patients taking nitrates may experience an increased risk of negative health outcomes.”

Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and others are posphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i). They work by widening arteries and increasing blood flow to the penis.

Nitrates also work by dilating blood vessels, and are used to treat chest pain related to angina and to ease symptoms of heart failure.

Each varieties of drugs may cause drops in blood pressure, so guidelines recommend they not be used together.

But researchers said the number of individuals prescribed each is growing, and there’s little real-world data on the implications of using them at the identical time.

For this study, researchers analyzed health records for nearly 61,500 men prescribed nitrates who’d had a heart attack or had undergone a procedure to open blocked coronary arteries.

Amongst those men, greater than 5,700 also had been prescribed an erectile dysfunction drug.

The info revealed that men taking each drugs had an overall higher risk of death, in addition to of heart attack, heart failure and other major cardiovascular events.

Few events occurred inside 28 days of men receiving an erectile dysfunction drug, indicating that there may be low immediate risk, researchers said.

“Our goal is to underscore the necessity for careful patient-centered consideration before prescribing PDE5i medication to men receiving nitrate treatment,” Andersson said in an American College of Cardiology news release. “Moreover, it justifies our efforts for continued research into the ambiguous effects of ED drugs on men with CVD [cardiovascular disease].”

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Glenn Levine said erectile dysfunction drugs are reasonably protected in men with mild angina in good physical shape, but using them with an ongoing nitrate prescription is ill-advised at best.

“ED and CAD [coronary artery disease] are unlucky, and all too common, bedfellows,” said Levine, a professor of cardiology with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “But, as with most relationships, assuming proper precautions and care, they will co-exist together for a few years — even perhaps a lifetime.”

More information

The Texas Heart Institute has more on nitrates.

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology, news release, Jan. 15, 2024

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