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Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors May Have More to Offer Than You Think

Men with type 2 diabetes being treated for ED may be getting some cardioprotective effects as well….

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Because phosphodiesterase inhibitors have been shown to be cardioprotective in studies conducted on animal subjects, Dr. Simeon Anderson and his research team decided to see if the same effect could be seen in humans. The team’s goal was to establish if the use of phosphodiesterase inhibitors in men with type 2 diabetes increased mortality. The phosphodiesterase inhibitors available for use included Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra.

A retrospective analysis of data was done, and 7,860 type 2 diabetic men between the ages of 40 and 89 were included in the study. All of the men included had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before 2007 and tracked for about five years thereafter. About 23% of the identified men were prescribed a phosphodiesterase inhibitor within that time frame.

Based on the data, type 2 diabetic men who were on a phosphodiesterase inhibitor had a decreased risk of dying compared to those who were not on a phosphodiesterase inhibitor (hazard ratio = 0.83; p = 0.038). Also, for those who suffered from a new myocardial infarction following their diabetes diagnosis and were on a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, risk of dying from a heart attack was reduced by about 38% (hazard ratio = 0.62; p = 0.001). Among the men who suffered from a heart attack before their diabetes diagnosis and were on a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, their mortality rate was lower during the follow-up period (24% vs. 31%).

The cardioprotective property and subsequent improved mortality of phosphodiesterase inhibitors can be attributed to this class of drugs’ ability to increase levels of cyclic GMP. More research is needed in this area to support the use of phosphodiesterase inhibitors in type 2 diabetic men for its increased mortality benefit.

Practice Pearls:

  • Preliminary studies show that phosphodiesterase inhibitors can be beneficial for purposes other than treating erectile dysfunction.
  • Phosphodiesterase inhibitors may have a mortality benefit for type 2 diabetic men.
  • In the future, drugs like Viagra and Cialis may become a normal part of drug therapy for type 2 diabetic men for the added mortality benefit.

American Diabetes Association 2015 Scientific Sessions; June 7, 2015; Boston, Massachusetts. Abstract 7-LB: Anderson, S, Hutchings D, et al. "Phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitor use in type 2 diabetes is associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality." Artery Research 8.4 (2014): 148. Web. 25 Jun 2015.