Story at a glance

  • A new study found use of Viagra was associated with 69 percent reduction of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The findings from the study published Monday in the journal Nature Aging were based on an analysis of health insurance claims data of more than 7 million people in the U.S.
  • Researchers note the findings only established an association between the medication and reduced incident of Alzheimer’s disease rather than a causal link, and more research is necessary.

New research suggests the erectile dysfunction medication Viagra could potentially be a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. 

The study led by researchers from the Cleveland Clinic found the use of sildenafil, the generic name for Viagra, was associated with a 69 percent reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. 

The findings from the study published Monday in the journal Nature Aging were based on an analysis of health insurance claims data of more than 7 million people in the U.S. 

Researchers found that sildenafil users were nearly 70 percent less likely to develop the neurodegenerative disease than non-sildenafil users after six years of follow up. 


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Using a large gene-mapping network, researchers used genetic and other data to identify which of more than 1,600 FDA-approved drugs used to treat other disease and conditions could be repurposed to fight Alzheimer’s. 

They narrowed in on drugs that target the buildup of both beta amyloid and tau proteins in the brain, hallmarks of Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain. 

“Recent studies show that the interplay between amyloid and tau is a greater contributor to Alzheimer’s than either by itself,” Feixiong Cheng, the study’s lead author, said in a statement

“Therefore, we hypothesized that drugs targeting the molecular network intersection of amyloid and tau endophenotypes should have the greatest potential for success,” Cheng said. 

“Sildenafil, which has been shown to significantly improve cognition and memory in preclinical models, presented as the best drug candidate,” Cheng said. 

Researchers note the findings only established an association between the medication and reduced incident of Alzheimer’s disease rather than a causal link, and more research is necessary to establish whether Viagra can lower risk of the disease. 

The critical need for an effective new treatment against Alzheimer’s is underscored by the estimated 13.8 million Americans expected to be impacted by the disease by 2050. 


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Published on Dec 06, 2021