Taking erectile dysfunction drugs with chest pain meds can be fatal

🔑 Key Findings:

  • Combining ED drugs like Viagra with heart medications can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels
  • The problem focuses on the combination of nitrates and Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors
  • The drugs significantly increased the risk of fatal heart complications

SOLNA, Sweden — Combining Viagra, the sex-enhancement drug, with medication for chest pain can be fatal, new research warns. The study reveals an increased risk of death when these two frequently prescribed medications are taken together.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a prevalent issue among middle-aged and older men and often indicates coronary artery disease (CAD). Drugs like Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis, known as Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i), are commonly prescribed for ED, especially in men with cardiovascular disease (CVD). Meanwhile, nitrates are typically used to treat angina or chest pain.

Both PDE5i and nitrates can lower blood pressure, leading to warnings against their simultaneous use. However, the specific consequences of combining these drugs have not been thoroughly studied until now. A Swedish research team conducted a study to provide clearer guidance for medical professionals.

“Physicians are seeing an increase of requests for erectile dysfunction drugs from men with cardiovascular diseases,” says Senior Author and Associate Professor Daniel Peter Andersson from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, in a media release.

“While there is a positive association of ED medication for men with CVD, patients taking nitrates may experience an increased risk of negative health outcomes. Our goal is to underscore the need for careful patient-centered consideration before prescribing PDE5i medication to men receiving nitrate treatment. Furthermore, it justifies our efforts for continued research into the ambiguous effects of ED drugs on men with CVD.”

Blue pills (Viagra, erectile dysfunction drug)
Combining Viagra, the sex-enhancement drug, with medication for chest pain can be fatal, new research warns. (© H_Ko – stock.adobe.com)

The research involved analyzing data from 61,487 men with a history of myocardial infarction (MI) or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) who had received two nitrate prescriptions within six months. Of these, 55,777 were treated with nitrates alone, and 5,710 received both nitrates and PDE5i.

The study’s findings indicate that the concurrent use of PDE5i and nitrates significantly increases the risk of adverse health outcomes compared to nitrates alone. Interestingly, the researchers note that this risk was not immediate, as few events occurred within 28 days of dispensing the medication.

Despite these findings, the researchers acknowledge the study’s limitations and the need for further research on the topic.

“ED and CAD are unfortunate, and all too common, bedfellows. But, as with most relationships, assuming proper precautions and care, they can co-exist together for many years perhaps even a lifetime,” concludes Dr. Glenn Levine from the Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston.

The research is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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South West News Service writer Isobel Williams contributed to this report.

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