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Viagra and Cialis May Help People With Muscular Dystrophy

Viagra and Cialis May Help People With Muscular Dystrophy

While Viagra and Cialis are best known for treating erectile dysfunction (ED), a study from Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles found that the drugs also had promising results for people suffering from an aggressive and deadly form of muscular dystrophy (MD) called Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Although muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal disease among children (almost all males), there’s no disease-specific treatment.

A research study on humans

Previous studies of DMD tested Viagra and Cialis out on mice, and in a milder form of MD. But the lead author of the recent human study, Dr. Ronald Victor, indicated that the new research suggests some hope for those with DMD.

In the study, 10 boys with DMD between the ages of 8 and 13 performed handgrip exercises, then were given standard clinical doses of Viagra or Cialis. After taking the ED drugs, the boys performed the handgrip exercises again. The before-and-after results found improvement in blood flow that was immediate and dose-dependent.

Which worked better, Viagra or Cialis?

According to Dr. Victor, both Viagra and Cialis provided similar results. Still, Dr. Victor says Cialis is the preferred drug because it better achieves the desired outcome. In addition, the effects of Cialis last 24 hours, as opposed to Viagra, which only works for an hour on DMD patients’ muscles.

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Future research

Because most boys with DMD can’t walk by age 15, Dr. Victor is hoping that more research will find that Viagra and Cialis can slow the progression of DMD. The typical cause of death in DMD is heart failure due to degeneration of the heart muscle.

The advantages of Viagra and Cialis

There are several advantages to treating DMD with Viagra and Cialis.

First, there were no side effects reported—other than a couple prolonged erections, which weren’t harmful.

Second, Viagra is already approved by the FDA (though for ED, not treating DMD) and readily available with a prescription.

Third, Viagra and Cialis are relatively inexpensive compared to many of the other potential treatment drugs.

About Lisa

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As a journalist Lisa enjoys writing about a variety of topics. Over the course of the last ten years she has been involved in television news as well as print and online publications. Medical news has always been a favorite for this native New Yorker because she gets to stay on top of the latest developments in a rapidly changing field.

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