Previously PH-Tested Viagra Now Evaluated as Scleroderma Therapy

Previously PH-Tested Viagra Now Evaluated as Scleroderma Therapy

viagra and sclerodermaHaving previously experimented with the use of Viagra (Sildenafil) as a possible therapy for Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), researchers have now evaluated the use of the drug in treating Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) in patients.

SSc or scleroderma, is a chronic connective tissue disease characterized by hardening of the skin. The disease can in turn affect skin, the esophagus, the gastrointestinal tract, and other internal organs, such as the lungs, kidneys, and heart. Depending on the degree of severity, scleroderma can develop into a life-threatening disease. In United States alone, 300,000 individuals are estimated to suffer from the disease.

PAH is a common complication in patients with SSc, and a leading cause of mortality as a consequence of chronic thromboembolism, interstitial lung disease, or heart disease.

Recently, a research team led by Sanaa A. Kenawy has published a case study, entitled “Potential effect of Sildenafil beyond pulmonary hypertension in a patient with diffuse systemic sclerosis and cryoglobulinemic vasculitis” and published in SpringerPluswhere the authors evaluated the effect of Sildenafil on a 40 year-old female patient with diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc) and cryoglobulinemic vasculitis (when the blood contains large amounts of cryoglobulins’ proteins, insoluble at reduced temperatures).

Sildenafil, commonly known as Viagra, was previously reported to improve PAH condition and symptoms by reducing inflammation and swelling in lungs’ arterial walls.

Now, the team reports that beyond its initial effects, Sildenafil significantly improved the vasculitic skin lesions associated with patients’ cryoglobulinemic vasculitis. Thus, this is the second report highlighting the need to evaluate Sildenafil potential to treat other extrapulmonary manifestations, associated with SSc-PAH patients.

These new results could form the basis for additional, new therapies for scleroderma.

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