Viagra and pulmonary hypertension

Viagra is now being used to treat not only erectile dysfunction (ED) but also pulmonary hypertension. And the drug may have potential for treating several other conditions, reports the August 2007 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch.

The three ED medications currently on the market—Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis—all work by the same means, and they have similar side effects. The most common are headaches and facial flushing, which occur in 15% of men. Other reactions include nasal congestion, indigestion, and back pain. These side effects are mild and temporary. The most important worry about ED pills is their ability to widen arteries enough to lower blood pressure. And men who are taking nitrates should never use any of the ED pills.

Although some of the drugs' side effects may be troublesome, others may be helpful, and scientists are studying whether ED pills might help treat a variety of nonsexual problems. Viagra (sildenafil) has been on the market longest and is most studied. It's yet not clear if the other ED pills offer similar benefits, but Viagra, at least, may prove useful for some other conditions, including these:

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »