Viagra appears to halve the effects of stress on the heart, say researchers at John Hopkins University. Viagra (sildenafil) is currently on the market for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (impotence).

You can read about this study in the journal Circulation.

It seems that Viagra reduces the heartbeat that has been strengthened by stress (chemically induced). It stops the chemical stimulation of the heart by 50%.

Under normal conditions, say the researchers, Viagra has no effect on the heart – it is only when the heart is under stress and pumping with more power.

This study involved 35 healthy men. They were given dobutamine injections, two of them in three-hour intervals. Dobutamine chemically stresses the heart, making it pump harder. After the first injection the men’s heart contractions increased in force by 150%.

Some patients were given Viagra while others were given a placebo (dummy drug) between the two dobutamine injections. Those given Viagra experienced a 50% drop in heartbeat strength.

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today