It was only a matter of time before the coronavirus pandemic impacted the world of medicine and vaccines alike. Now that we are past the peak of the pandemic in many countries, scientists are shifting their attention back to finding answers to the important questions that the pandemic raised. One of these questions regards the role that Viagra may play in helping to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Although the evidence is still emerging, Viagra has already been shown to have anti-coronavirus properties in vitro (i.e. in vitro = inside the lab), making it a potential therapeutic option for people who are infected with the coronavirus. In vivo (i.e. in vivo = inside the body) studies are also being conducted to see if Viagra can reduce the amount of coronavirus that an already-infected individual is shedding (i.e. is infectious). If these studies confirm that Viagra does, in fact, have anti-coronavirus properties, then doctors may prescribe it to people who are infected with the coronavirus for the same reasons that they would prescribe it to people who are suffering from coronary artery disease (CAD): To help reduce the blood pressure associated with CAD (high blood pressure) and to reduce the strain that the heart is under while trying to pump sufficient blood throughout the body. While we await the results of these studies, it’s important to understand how Covid-19 and Viagra interact with one another so that we can make the right decision for the right patient.

When Will We Know More About Viagra And Covid-19?

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to determine exactly when doctors will know more about the potential role that Viagra may play in combating the Covid-19 pandemic. Like with many new medical discoveries during the pandemic, the number of lab studies conducted on Viagra and the number of patients exposed to it are both limited. Also, many doctors are still reluctant to prescribe a medicine that is essentially considered “off-label” (i.e. used for something other than what it’s intended for) during this time of uncertainty with regard to the coronavirus. Finally, even once these studies are completed and the results are in, it may be a while before doctors know how best to incorporate them into their treatments and which patients will benefi t most from it.

Covid-19 Vs. Coronary Artery Disease

One of the most important things that we need to keep in mind is that although Covid-19 is a new disease that was caused by a virus, coronary artery disease (CAD) is not. In fact, it’s been around for centuries and is one of the most common reasons that people die from “natural causes” (i.e. not from an accident or violent death).

According to the American Heart Association, nearly 7 million people in the U.S. suffer from CAD, and it is the number one cause of heart disease deaths. Just as with Covid-19, the main risk factor for CAD is high blood pressure. In addition, people who smoke and those who are diabetic are also at a greater risk of developing CAD. Similar to how the Covid-19 vaccine may be used to protect people from contracting the disease, medications like aspirin, statins, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors have been shown to help prevent CAD. As with Covid-19, there is also evidence that suggests that Viagra may play an important role in mitigating the risks associated with CAD. (1)

It’s well established that high blood pressure (i.e. hypertension) increases the likelihood of an individual contracting CAD. Likewise, there is also evidence that suggests that sexual dysfunction (i.e. impotence) caused by Viagra may increase the risk of developing CAD. However, there is also evidence suggesting that Viagra may help protect people with established CAD from experiencing complications. These complications include heart failure and a heightened risk of stroke.

Understanding The Risks Of Covid-19 Vs. Coronary Artery Disease

Due to the high proportion of people who have some form of coronary artery disease and the fact that many people are at a greater risk of developing it than contracting Covid-19, it’s important to understand the various risks associated with these two distinct health issues. In general, people who are already suffering from CAD are more at risk of getting sick with Covid-19 than people who don’t have CAD. This increased risk is often referred to as “coronavirus cardiac syndrome” (CCS). (2)

CCS is more of a “complication” of Covid-19 than it is a “disease” in its own right. It’s been reported that as many as 40% of people who have recovered from Covid-19 have developed CCS. This is in contrast with people who have not yet recovered and presumably have normal coronary arteries, where only about 1% have developed CCS. (3)

It’s also worth noting that some people who have not yet been exposed to Covid-19 but are at a greater risk of developing it in the future may also develop CCS due to high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risks. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that while Covid-19 poses a significant threat to the overall health of an individual, it is also important to remember that it’s treatable and something that can be managed.

How Does Viagra Protect Individuals With Risk Factors For Coronary Artery Disease?

It’s well established that individuals with risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are more susceptible to contracting Covid-19. This is in part because many of the same underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to developing CAD also make them more at risk of getting sick with Covid-19. For example, many individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure have a greater risk of developing complications from Covid-19. (4)

It’s also well established that high blood pressure leads to coronary artery disease. (5) It stands to reason then that high blood pressure may also make an individual more at risk of getting sick with Covid-19. (6)

However, there is also evidence suggesting that individuals who are on Viagra may have a lower risk of developing complications from Covid-19. This is significant because it means that those who are taking the drug may be protected from Covid-19, even if they have high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. (7)

There is a lot of uncertainty regarding the role that Viagra may play in helping to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, based on what we currently know, it is clear that the drug has important implications for people who are taking it and also for people who are at risk of developing CAD. In the meantime, we should also remember that while Covid-19 is a serious disease that affects a large number of people, it is also one that is highly amenable to treatment and something that can be managed. (8)

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