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Viagra may help ward off diabetes onset

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Washington DC: Taking the male potency pill may benefit the patients at diabetes risk, according to a new study.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers found that the drug sildenafil, sold as Viagra and other brand names, improves insulin sensitivity in people at risk for diabetes.

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.

While further studies are needed to determine whether long-term treatment can prevent the onsetof diabetes in high- risk patients, “sildenafil and related drugs could offer a potential avenue for addressing the rising number of diabetes diagnoses, said co-senior author Nancy J. Brown.

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.

The study appears in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

ANI