Sildenafil, the clinical name for Viagra, has been successful in treating patients with serious lung problems, according to a study published in Circulation, the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Scientists believe the drug, which has helped millions of men worldwide overcome impotence, works by helping the blood vessels in the lungs to relax and prevent the constriction which causes hypoxia and sometimes pulmonary hypertension. Lead researcher Professor Martin Wilkins said: “This is an important observation, which, coupled with isolated case reports, suggests that sildenafil may be a useful treatment for pulmonary hypertension. professor Sir Charles George, medical director of the Foundation said: “Pulmonary hypertension is relatively common in people with chronic lung disorders and also for some types of heart disease.
“As well as being life-threatening it is highly debilitating because oxygen needs to be administered continuously. “This exciting research points the way to a new treatment option for these patients and merits further investigation in suitable patients.”