Viagra to treat Alzheimer’s disease? Cleveland Clinic researchers optimistic

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(WJW) — A new study by the Cleveland Clinic indicates sildenafil, a therapy for erectile dysfunction (Viagra) and pulmonary hypertension (Revatio), may also be promising in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings by a research team led by Cleveland Clinic Dr. Feixiong Cheng were published in “Nature Aging.”

Through a large-scale analysis of a database of more than seven million patients, the team determined sildenafil is associated with 69 percent reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

That indicates the need for a follow-up clinical trial testing of the drug’s efficacy in patients with that disease, the press release states.

The team used computational methodology to screen and validate FDA-approved drugs as potential therapies for the disease, the release states.

“This paper is an example of a growing area of research in precision medicine where big data is key to connecting the dots between existing drugs and a complex disease like Alzheimer’s,” said Dr. Jean Yuan, program director of Translational Bioinformatics and Drug Development at the National Institute on Aging. “This is one of many efforts we are supporting to find existing drugs or available safe compounds for other conditions that would be good candidates for Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials.”

According to the Cleveland Clinic, without the development of new treatments, Alzheimer’s disease could impact 13.8 million Americans by 2050.

Cheng said the team is now planning a trial and phase II randomized clinical trial to confirm benefits for Alzheimer’s patients. They hope the approach is applied to other neurodegenerative diseases in the future.

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