According to a recent study, men who take drugs for erectile dysfunction have an increased risk of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma.
The researchers detailed their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The scientists who conducted the study said that while erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra do not cause melanoma directly, their findings show that some medications known as PDE5 inhibitors were associated with a higher risk of skin cancer.
These medications include tadalafil, vardenafil and sildenafil, which are known by the public under the name of Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and others.
In order to come to this conclusion, the experts used Swedish medical records that span from 2006 to 2012 and found that approximately 4,000 patients who used erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra had developed melanoma skin cancer.
11% of those patients had filled at least one prescription for a PDE5 inhibitor drug that treats erectile conditions.
The researchers compared these patients with men from a control group who did not have skin cancer. These men were selected randomly from the same registry and were matched by age.
When they analyzed the medical data, the medical experts found that men who used erectile dysfunction medication had a 21% higher risk of skin cancer.
The study revealed that the patients who had filled a single prescription had a 32% higher risk compared to the other men.
The men who had filled more than one prescription for erectile dysfunction drugs had a 14% risk of melanoma.
Stacy Loeb, a researcher at the New York University said that the latter statistics was not relevant.
Researchers also found that men who took erectile dysfunction drugs had a higher risk of being diagnosed with low-grade melanoma, and not advanced or other types of high risk cancer.
The study suggests that the risk of melanoma among erectile dysfunction drugs users was modest. This would translate as approximately 7 additional cancer cases per 100,000 men who took this type of medication.
Chris Chapple, who works as a Secretary General of the European Association of Urology, said that the new findings are pretty interesting but they require further research in order to determine if there is a connection between erectile dysfunction drugs and an increased risk of melanoma.
Chapple, who wasn’t involved in the study, said that the research suggests a potential association that has not been reported before.
Image Source: drweil