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Home Industry News Pfizer’s Viagra may be used to treat Raynaud’s phenomenon

Pfizer’s Viagra may be used to treat Raynaud’s phenomenon

8th November 2005

The impotence drug Viagra (sildenafil) may be used to relieve the symptoms and improve the circulation of patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon, according to a new study.

Pfizer’s treatment for male erectile dysfunction is a phosphodiesterase (PDE)-5 inhibitor that affects very small blood vessels.

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a disorder that affects the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. Characterised by spasms in the small blood vessels in response to cold or stress, this leads to poor circulation and pain that can result in ulceration or even tissue death in the toes and fingers.

A German study carried out at Gotthard-Schettler-Klinik in Bad Schonborn followed 18 patients with severe Raynaud’s phenomenon that failed to respond to at least two other drugs.

The patients were randomly assigned to 50 mg Viagra twice daily for four weeks or a placebo for four weeks, then switched treatment.

Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association reports that Viagra reduced the frequency of Raynaud attacks (35 versus 52), attack duration (581 versus 1046 minutes) and Raynaud’s phenomenon scores (2.2 versus 3.0).

Patients with chronic toe or finger ulcerations saw them heal significantly during active treatment, disappearing completely in two patients.
Average capillary blood flow velocity more than quadrupled in those taking Viagra and patients taking the drug reported less pain.
Pfizer recently gained approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) for its Revatio drug. Revatio is used in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and contains sildenafil citrate, the active ingredient in Viagra.

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