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Viagra increases insulin sensitivity, study finds

Viagra (the market name of sildenafil) increases insulin sensitivity in people with prediabetes, according to new research.
The study, conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, found that people with prediabetes became more sensitive to insulin when treated with Viagra – suggesting that the erectile dysfunction drug, or at least a component of it, could be used to slow or even prevent the progression of type 2 diabetes in at-risk individuals.
The researchers also found that those participants treated with Viagra had fewer biological markers that signal a higher risk of kidney and heart disease, both of which are common complications of diabetes.
42 participants were separated into two groups: the first was given 25mg of Viagra three times a day; the second was given a placebo. After three months of treatment, the Viagra group was significantly more sensitive to insulin than the placebo group.
“We need additional strategies to help slow the progression from prediabetes to diabetes,” said Nancy J. Brow, of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “Weight loss and exercise regimens can be difficult to maintai, and some current medications have been limited by concerns about adverse effects. Sildenafil and related drugs could offer a potential avenue for addressing the rising number of diabetes diagnoses.
“Because existing drug therapies to prevent type 2 diabetes can have negative effects on the heart or be of limited use in patients with kidney disease, strategies to prevent diabetes without adversely affecting the risk of kidney and heart disease could have a large impact on public health. Further studies will be needed to determine whether long-term treatment with drugs like sildenafil can prevent the onset of [type 2] diabetes in high-risk patients.”
The findings are published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

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