A theory that the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra might improve exercise capacity in people with heart failure has not been shown in a small trial.
Professor Margaret Redfield, professor of medicine at the Mayo Medical School, Rochester, Minnesota told the American College of Cardiology that researchers thought the drug might improve exercise capacity through its ability to increase blood flow to the periphery. However, the trial did not show any benefits.
Prof Redfield said: "This was a small, placebo controlled, double-blind trial in 216 patients with preserved ejection fraction. This was a proof of concept trial with the idea of obtaining a signal that it would be worthwhile to study this in a bigger population.â
Prof William Abraham, from the Ohio State University Columbus, said: âWe have been looking for a silver bullet to treat patients with heart failure and preserved left ventricular ejection fraction.â
He said Viagra had a variety of actions that might be beneficial in heart failure. Earlier data had suggested some improvement in patients with reduced ejection fraction heart failure and the National Institutes of Health was sponsoring another trial with Viagra that will explore whether heart failure patients with reduced ejection fractions may benefit from the use of the drug.
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