Viagra May Help Improve Insulin Sensitivity

People who are at risk for diabetes may benefit from the drug sildenafil, which is sold as Viagra, a new study reports.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University say sildenafil can improve insulin sensitivity by inhibiting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5), which enables increased blood flow, muscle relaxation and vasodilation - or the dilation of blood vessels. The drug can also help the uptake of glucose from the bloodsteam by muscle, which lowers levels of circulating glucose.

"Sildenafil and related drugs could offer a potential avenue for addressing the rising number of diabetes diagnoses," said Dr. Nancy J. Brown, chair of the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt.

A long-term solution?

The study included overweight individuals with prediabetes who were randomly assigned to receive either sildenafil or a placebo for three months.

At the study's conclusion, patients taking sildenafil were "significantly" more sensitive to insulin, the researchers reported.

"Further studies will be needed to determine whether long-term treatment with drugs like sildenafil can prevent the onset of diabetes in high-risk patients," Brown said.

The study is published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Source: Science Daily

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