Could Viagra help prevent Alzheimer’s disease?

Despite what it’s best known for, sildenafil – marketed as Viagra – isn’t a one-trick pony. It was originally developed to treat angina – although it didn’t make it through trials – and there’s some evidence it could help treat malaria. Tadalafil, a similar drug to Viagra, has been proposed as a heart failure treatment.

A paper in Nature Aging has expanded its potential further, using records from insurance claims to examine the link between Viagra and Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers, who are based in the US, examined the insurance records of 7.23 million people, alongside genetic and other biological data. They looked through the data to pull out indicators of Alzheimer’s disease, and then examined the relationship between these indicators and over 1,600 prescribed medicinal drugs.

Viagra had the highest link to lower chance of Alzheimer’s, with its prescription being associated with a 69% reduced risk of the disease.