Baltimore researchers sayAre you having erectile dysfunctions? Use Viagra. Are you hypertensive? Use Viagra. Although the answer to the second question might seem strange to some, apparently it's nevertheless true. The drug that gives older men a few moments of pleasure can also be used to lower blood pressure.
Baltimore researchers said while Viagra, sildenafil citrate, 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.
The recent study suggests that sildenafil weakens 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 Dr. David Kass, a Johns Hopkins cardiology professor.
Under normal conditions, say the researchers, Viagra has no effect on the heart - it is only when the heart is under stress and pumping with more power.
This study involved 35 healthy men. They were given dobutamine injections, two of them in three-hour intervals. Dobutamine chemically stresses the heart, making it pump harder. After the first injection the men's heart contractions increased in force by 150%.
Some patients were given Viagra while others were given a placebo (dummy drug) between the two dobutamine injections. Those given Viagra experienced a 50% drop in heartbeat strength.