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Erectile dysfunction drug may benefit patients at risk for diabetes

Date:
November 18, 2015
Source:
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Summary:
The drug sildenafil, sold as Viagra and other brand names, improves insulin sensitivity in people at risk for diabetes, researchers report.
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The drug sildenafil, sold as Viagra and other brand names, improves insulin sensitivity in people at risk for diabetes, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center reported today.

Sildenafil inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5), resulting in relaxation of smooth muscle, vasodilation and increased blood flow. Sildenafil is used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Animal studies suggest that sildenafil also can improve insulin sensitivity, the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream by muscle. This action can lower the level of circulating glucose, and potentially reduce the risk of diabetes.

In the current study, overweight individuals with prediabetes were randomly assigned to receive sildenafil or placebo (inactive drug) for three months. Of the 42 subjects who completed the study, those treated with sildenafil were significantly more sensitive to insulin, the researchers reported in today's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

While further studies are needed to determine whether long-term treatment can prevent the onset of diabetes in high-risk patients, "sildenafil and related drugs could offer a potential avenue for addressing the rising number of diabetes diagnoses," said Nancy J. Brown, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt.

Brown, the Hugh J. Morgan Professor of Medicine, was co-senior author of the study with Cyndya A. Shibao, M.D., MSCI, assistant professor of Medicine.

According to the Endocrine Society, more than 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, in which the body's tissues are resistant to insulin. Incidence of the disease, which is associated with obesity, is growing rapidly.

Weight loss and exercise regimens are difficult for many people, and some current medications aimed at preventing diabetes are limited by concerns about adverse effects, Brown said.

Sildenafil and related drugs prevent PDE5 from breaking down a chemical in the body called cyclic GMP, which relaxes blood vessels and increases insulin sensitivity. But unlike some other methods of raising cyclic GMP, sildenafil did not decrease an anti-clotting chemical in the body, the Vanderbilt researchers reported.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Original written by Courtney Bricker-Anthony. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Claudia E. Ramirez, Nian Hui, Chang Yu, Jorge L. Gamboa, James M. Luther, Nancy J. Brown, Cyndya A. Shibao. Treatment with Sildenafil Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Prediabetes: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2015; jc.2015-3415 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2015-3415

Cite This Page:

Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Erectile dysfunction drug may benefit patients at risk for diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151118180542.htm>.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (2015, November 18). Erectile dysfunction drug may benefit patients at risk for diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151118180542.htm
Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Erectile dysfunction drug may benefit patients at risk for diabetes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151118180542.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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