Cleveland Clinic: Viagra may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

According to Fox News, a recent report of natural aging magazine pointed out that sildenafil (Viagra) has the potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The survey found that the use of sildenafil is associated with a 69% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.


Alzheimer’s disease has become one of the most important causes of death for the elderly, but its pathogenesis is complex and the market potential is huge, but there is no corresponding specific drug, and the R & D projects of many pharmaceutical enterprises have failed. With the continuous development of the research field of precision medicine, the use of drug reuse strategy, that is, the connection between the existing drug structure and its pathogenesis, is expected to develop new therapeutic approaches. In other words, some drugs that have been on the market for many years to treat other diseases may be effective.

Dr. Feixiong Cheng, Institute of genomic medicine, Cleveland Clinic, introduced that in the brain β- The accumulation of amyloid and tau proteins can lead to amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles, which are two characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease-related brain changes. Drugs targeting these two phenotypic molecules have certain therapeutic potential. To this end, the research team established a large gene map network and screened more than 1600 FDA approved drugs. The results showed that sildenafil drug model significantly improved cognition and memory, and was considered to be the best candidate drug. It is well known that sildenafil is a commonly used drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and has been approved for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension in some countries, but there is no indication for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers also selected the medical information database of more than 7 million people in the United States to compare the relationship between sildenafil and Alzheimer’s disease, including losartan and metformin related to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as diltiazem, glimepiride and other drug users who have not been proved to be related to the disease.

During the 6-year follow-up, patients taking sildenafil had a 69% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease than non users. Compared with losartan, metformin, diltiazem and glimepiride, the risk of sildenafil group decreased by 55%, 63%, 65% and 64%, respectively. The use of sildenafil specifically reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in patients with coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and these chronic diseases are significantly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Interestingly, a report in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAs) in 2020 said that sildenafil can destroy misfolded proteins and inhibit the accumulation of toxic proteins in the body, which are highly related to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. This study confirmed that drug molecules can enhance toxic protein decomposition related to neurodegenerative diseases through zebrafish model, but did not give data related to human application, but provided a possibility.

Cheng said that the current study only found that sildenafil was related to the reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and the causal relationship between the two needs to be explored. To this end, researchers used stem cells to develop a brain cell model of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and found that sildenafil could promote the growth of brain cells. Next, a phase II randomized clinical trial will be conducted to verify the clinical benefits of sildenafil in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

reference material:

  1. medicalxpress

Study identifies sildenafil as candidate drug for Alzheimer’s diseas


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