How might sildenafil work to reduce Alzheimer’s risk? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Taking sildenafil for erectile dysfunction reduced the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, a study looking at medical records of over 260,000 found.  Geriatrics expert Lolita Nidadavolu at Johns Hopkins and coauthor of an editorial on the study says there is a mechanism that makes sense.

Nidadavolu: What we know about how PDE 5 inhibitors function is they are vasodilators meaning they're bringing more blood flow. The thought is that there could be changes to blood flow in the brain that can contribute to the risk of someone developing dementia. It's a systemic medication so that would presumably their brain would also be exposed to the same medication and so there's increased blood flow to the brain or cerebral blood flow that could potentially be reducing someone's risk of disease.   :30

Nidadavolu says like all medicines sildenafil has side effects, and understanding how it works may enable more targeted drugs to be developed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.