Viagra raises Melanoma Risk

viagra2The risk of developing melanoma may double for men using Viagra, a study suggests. Men using erectile dysfunction drug Viagra have nearly twice the risk of developing malignant melanoma, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).

10-Year Viagra Melanoma Study

Twenty-five thousand male health professionals participated for ten years in the study project. Researchers tracked which men developed melanoma and also tallied their use of Viagra.

Risk for melanoma was higher for those using Viagra or for those who had ever used it. Erectile dysfunction (ED) itself was not linked to increased risk.

The results indicate Viagra may increase the risk of melanoma.

Viagra raises Melanoma Risk

Dermatologist Dr. Brian Horvath said, “It may be that people who take Viagra are more likely to be out in the sun or more  active in some way. The problem with that idea, though, is that the other types of skin cancer risks were not increased. So if was just sun exposure, you’d expect all skin cancers would increase. In this situation, just the melanoma risk was increased.”

Researchers performed the study because Viagra affects certain cell signals, similar to those which allow melanoma cells to spread.

Viagra blocks Phosphodiesterase

Horvath said, “Viagra blocks an enzyme called phosphodiesterase and most melanomas have a mutation that also blocks that enzyme.”

Viagra was the only FDA approved medicine for ED when the study began ten years ago.

Cialis, Levitra, and Stendra have been approved since then. These ED drugs also block phosphodiesterase, so they, too, could become suspect in raising melanoma risk.

Horvath said the evidence is not “firm” and cautioned men considering Viagra to have “a baseline skin check.”

Another study published in JAMA found the source of the malignant melanoma increase to be based on socioeconomic and other factors. It suggested that men with higher incomes who can afford sun-splashed vacations and costly ED meds may face a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Related

Share