ADDING YEARS TO YOUR LIFE, AND LIFE TO YOUR YEARS: Will Viagra and Cialis Extend Lifespan?

Viagra and Cialis, and a third, lesser known drug, Levitra, are used to treat erectile dysfunction. Use of these drugs is associated with a lower risk of heart attacks, and can be used as therapeutics against other disease. Will Viagra and Cialis extend lifespan?

Erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra inhibit an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 5, or PDE5. Phosphodiesterase enzymes have varying subtypes, and are found in all tissues. They catalyze the breakdown of two molecules, cGMP and cAMP, into inactive compounds.

PDE5 is upregulated from 2- to 5-fold in human heart disease. Inhibition of PDE5 with sildenafil (Viagra) protects against ischemia/reperfusion injury, which means it increases cellular antioxidant protection mechanisms.

In diabetics, use of PDE5 inhibitors is associated with a 31% decrease in all-cause mortality. After adjustment for age and other factors, mortality risk decreased to nearly 50%, including a 38% lower incidence of heart attack.

PDE5 expression is increased in many human cancers, and a number of studies have suggested that PDE5 inhibitors may be therapeutic against cancer. . . . Levels of the enzyme PDE5 appear to rise with age, and therefore inhibiting them can bring them to youthful levels, and prevent or help to treat diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Well, that sounds promising. And the side effects should be tolerable.