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Viagra May Reverse Enlarged-Heart Damage

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  • Viagra May Reverse Enlarged-Heart Damage

    I found this article and found it VERY interesting... - Amy (Wife of Clint)



    Vi*agra May Reverse Enlarged-Heart Damage


    By Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Reporter

    SUNDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDayNews) -- Vi*agra, the drug most often associated with restoring male sexual powers, may play an entirely different role in treating enlarged hearts.

    In male mice, sildenafil citrate (the generic name for Vi*agra) successfully treated enlargement and thickening of the heart, not only stopping further growth of the heart muscle, but also actually reversing the growth and damage that had already taken place.

    Trials in humans are slated to get underway later this year.

    "If, indeed, what works in mice works in humans, this will become a standard part of care," said Dr. Richard Stein, a national spokesman for the American Heart Association. "This is very important."

    "By treating mice with Vi*agra in doses that would be similar to what a person would get, we found that we could block hypertrophy [enlarging and thickening of the heart muscles] and could prevent progression to heart failure," said study co-author Dr. Hunter Champion, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "Heart failure is a huge problem in the United States. It is the No. 1 reason for hospitalization through Medicare."

    The findings, which will be published in the February issue of Nature Medicine, represent a "clinical home run," as Stein put it.

    They also represent a scientific breakthrough because they revealed mechanisms involved in heart thickening and the progression to heart failure.

    Approximately 65 million Americans have high blood pressure or hypertension, which can lead to cardiac hypertrophy, a thickening of the heart muscle brought on because the heart has to pump harder to get its job done. At least one fourth of people with high blood pressure have cardiac hypertrophy, which also increases the risk of heart failure or sudden death by a factor of two to three, Champion said.

    In one experiment, Champion and his colleagues divided 10 to 40 male mice into two groups, one that was fed Vi*agra and one that received a regular diet. They then constricted the main artery in the mice, causing the heart to pump harder and resulting in a condition essentially the same as hypertrophy.

    The mice who got Vi*agra only developed half the hypertrophy that the other animals did. The Vi*agra mice also showed 67 percent less muscle fibrosis (stiffening), and also had smaller hearts and improved heart function.

    In another experiment, the researchers gave Vi*agra to part of a group of male mice that had already developed hypertrophy. After two weeks, fibrosis and muscle growth almost completely disappeared in the mice given Vi*agra while hearts continued to grow in the control mice.

    Vi*agra works, both in the heart and the pe*is, by inhibiting an enzyme called PDE5A.

    In the pe*is, however, PDE5A relaxes the smooth muscle, allowing the blood to flow and nature to resume its course.

    By contrast, in the heart muscle, rather than producing a direct relaxation response, PDE5A helps break down cyclic GMP, a molecule that acts to curb stresses and overgrowth in the heart.

    "The result is so impressive because it works on more than just one pathway," Champion said. "A boxer with just one jab in his repertoire is going to lose the fight, but if you have a good right jab, left jab and uppercut, you're going to be a much better fighter."

    Experts had not previously known that PDE5A was involved in heart function. They had also suspected that excessive heart muscle growth was an adaptive response to malfunction in the heart. This study, however, indicates that not all hypertrophy is the same and that Vi*agra might block the "bad" hypertrophy, Champion explained.

    In a way, Vi*agra is coming full circle. The drug was originally developed to dilate coronary blood vessels in people with angina. It didn't work for angina, but while being tested, was revealed to have the erectile dysfunction effect, for which it is now famous.

    Champion believed that the effect on the heart may actually be seen in the entire class of drugs, not just Vi*agra. "It could very well be that Levitra or Cialis would do the same thing," he said, referring to Vi*agra's two competitors in the erectile dysfunction marketplace.

    In general, the researchers are ahead of the game because Vi*agra is already approved. "The beautiful thing about this drug is we know that there are 20 million prescriptions written for Vi*agra. We know it to be a very safe drug," Champion said.

    It may be a while, though, before Vi*agra as heart therapy becomes a possibility: Heart failure drug trials take time to prove measurable results.

    But Champion added, "I will say, if it is half as impressive as we see in the mice, it might not take that long."

    Researchers will also be looking to see if Vi*agra has any effect on other systems in the body.

    More information

    The American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org target=new) has more on cardiac hypertrophy and other forms of cardiomyopathy.



    SOURCES: Hunter Champion, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; Richard Stein, M.D., cardiologist, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City, and national spokesman, American Heart Association; February 2005 Nature Medicine

    Copyright © 2005 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

  • #2
    Hi Amy. I've read this article before and Viagra isn't recommended for people with HCM. Below are links to 2 discussions on this and the reasons why it doesn't work for us.

    Reenie

    http://forum.4hcm.org/viewtopic.php?...ghlight=viagra

    http://forum.4hcm.org/viewtopic.php?...ghlight=viagra
    Reenie

    ****************
    Husband has HCM.
    3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the info.

      Well, then the article I found is very misleading. Sorry!

      Comment


      • #4
        No need to apologize! It's a little tough to figure out through the text of the article, but it's referring to hypertrophy due to high blood pressure and the like. Please keep posting. I'm glad you're thinking.

        Reenie
        Reenie

        ****************
        Husband has HCM.
        3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

        Comment

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