Can Viagra Have Added Benefits for Diabetics?

Viagra has long been a solution to erectile dysfunction, but a new study shows an added benefit might help type 2 diabetics. The 'little blue pill' can actually increase your insulin sensitivity.

The Study

Viagra, the brand name for sildenafil, relaxes blood vessels in the lungs to allow for greater blood flow to the penis. This is how it causes erections. A new study found that the drug also affects the function of blood vessel linings in a way that may lower insulin resistance.

Published in the 'Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism,' the study found that patients given sildenafil for three months were more sensitive to their own insulin production than those who were taking placebos.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is what usually leads to type 2 diabetes. The pancreas attempts to flood the body with more insulin, which only increases resistance. Type 2 diabetics often use oral medicine to lower their resistance, but many of these medications have side effects.

"Because existing drug therapies to prevent type 2 diabetes can have negative effects on the heart or be of limited use in patients with kidney disease, strategies to prevent diabetes without adversely affecting the risk of kidney and heart disease could have a large impact on public health,” said Dr. Nancy J. Brown, study leader.

More research needs to be done before drugs like Viagra can be used to treat insulin resistance, but every breakthrough counts.

Photo: Popsci