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Taking ED drugs and chest pain medications pose risks, study says

January 16, 2024 – A brand new study suggests that men who take commonly prescribed erectile dysfunction medications and nitrates for chest pain are at increased risk of heart failure, early death and other hostile outcomes.

Medications resembling Viagra and Cialis are sometimes prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction, including in men with heart problems. But the study – published on Monday within the Journal of the American College of Cardiologysays using such ED drugs and nitrates could have an effect on mortality and morbidity rates.

The ED medications within the brand-name medications are phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, also often known as PDE5i.

The use of PDE5i in individuals with ED and heart problems is controversial because each the drug and nitrates induce low blood pressure by acting on endothelial cells in alternative ways. CNN reported.

“Endothelial cells line blood vessels and regulate exchanges between the blood and surrounding tissue,” said CNN. “Previous studies on the benefits or harms of concurrent use have been mixed.”

Still, “doctors are seeing increasing demand for erectile dysfunction medications from men with cardiovascular disease,” Andersson said.

“Our goal is to underscore the need for careful, patient-centered consideration before prescribing PDE5i medications to men receiving nitrate treatment,” said study senior creator Dr. Daniel Peter Andersson, on the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm a press release. “In addition, it justifies our efforts to further explore the unclear effects of ED medications on men with cardiovascular disease.”

Participants within the study were 61,487 men from the Swedish national patient registry with stable coronary artery disease and a history of myocardial infarction – a heart attack – or percutaneous coronary interventions between 2005 and 2013.

About 56,000 were treated with nitrates alone. About 5,700 were treated with each nitrates and PDE5i. The average follow-up time and age within the nitrate group were 5.7 years and roughly 70 years, respectively; for the mixture group it was 3.4 years old and around 61 years old.

Men in the mixture group had a rather increased risk of premature death from all causes. The risk of revascularization throughout the follow-up period was twice as high as within the group that received nitrates alone.