Oct 3

Viagra’s Surprising Side Effects

This was written by pre-medical student Jorge Gonzalez with the intention of encouraging readers to take better care of oneself. The method of encouragement being used is Aristotle’s three pillars of rhetoric without the intention of withholding critical information or supplying false information. Instead, this method utilizes emotions to engage the audience, logic to make a claim, and credibility to support this claim. The following information is as reported by Maria Cohut in “A Viagra-like Drug could Reverse Heart Failure.”


In the United States, 5.7 million people have heart failure, a chronic condition where the heart muscle becomes unable to pump blood efficiently. Therefore, some organs do not receive a sufficient supply of oxygen and this attributes to half of those diagnosed, to die within five years of the diagnosis. This has been considered a global pandemic by Cardiac Failure Review, affecting more than 26 million worldwide. 


 Research from the University of Manchester is currently being done on the use of erectile dysfunction medication to treat systolic heart failure. A systolic heart failure is a form of heart failure that specifically concerns the left ventricles inability to contract normally. Research performed on sheep, for their similar hearts, showed improvements of heart contractions and its ability to respond to epinephrine with 3 weeks of treatment. The treatment used doses commonly used to treat those with erectile dysfunction. Epinephrine is important for constricting blood vessels, increasing the heart rate, and relaxing the muscles of the airways. 

The drug used for the treatment was tadalafil, a drug that falls under the same category as sildenafil which is more commonly referred to as Viagra. Tadalafil can be referenced by the common brands Cialis and Adcirca. The significance of this drug for the treatment of heart failure is the wide use and minimal side effects associated with it.  


Tadalafil works by interacting with an enzyme called PDE5. This enzyme, PDE5 breaks chemicals produced by nitric oxide. Therefore, tadalafil works by increasing the effects of nitric oxide. This increased effect is what allows increased blood flow to reach the sexual organs. Our practice is particularly concerned with blood flow and adequate circulation. Part of our care is preventing and reversing vascular diseases and conditions, like heart failure. Our practice does this by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in a person by recommending walks for as long as an hour. Aerobic exercise is an important part of one’s lifestyle choices, and when that part of lifestyle is abused or not practiced, it can lead to other medications inability to work. Additionally, this lack of blood flow can lead to more serious conditions such as heart attacks. Nitroglycerin is provided to patients who have suffered heart attacks, and it functions by turning into nitric oxide and helping arteries open up to provide blood flow. Part of our practice’s pro-active care is enabling the body to create its own natural source of nitric oxide. 


Work Cited:

Cohut, Maria. “A Viagra-like Drug Could Reverse Heart Failure.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 1 May 2019, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325084.php.

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