Welcome everyone to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. 

Alzheimer’s is dear to my heart. My mother and grandmother had it and I witnessed the debilitating effects. Many of you can relate. The loss of memory, personality, faculties, dignity, and lingering death. If there is anything to lessen your chance of getting this horrible disease called Alzheimer’s, it’s worth looking into.  

Interestingly, new Cleveland Clinic-led research is saying that Viagra, the drug initially developed to treat erectile dysfunction, can also play a role in preventing Alzheimer’s. Yes, you heard that right! The results of this new study suggests that Sildenafil (Viagra) can be used to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s.

I’m excited about the possibilities. I hope you’ll check out this full episode and share it with anyone you know that is facing this disease. 

PODCAST NOTES

  • Alzheimer’s is a complex disease with both genetics and lifestyle causes, including obesity, lack of exercise, poor sleep, loneliness, diabetes, and hormonal factors (particularly affecting women). 
  • Currently available, Alzheimer’s medications like Aricept and Namenda have shown limited effectiveness and come with significant side effects, highlighting the need for better treatments. There are some potential breakthroughs that are usually infusions, but they are extremely costly, potentially dangerous, and we’re not sure how they’re going to work long term. 
  • Repurposing existing drugs, like what was done during COVID-19, can be a cost effective and safer solution. Viagra and Cialis are highlighted due to their primary function as vasodilators. They dilate blood vessels. That’s why they help ED along with other medical conditions. I have used daily Cialis on many patients for many different reasons, even in some women. 
  • A large study involving 270,000 men in the UK found that those who took Sildenafil (Viagra) had a 30-54% reduced prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, with benefits increasing with higher usage. I hope for similar studies to be conducted on women, who have higher Alzheimer’s rates, possibly related to estrogen loss. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/sildenafil-viagra-may-help-reduce-alzheimers-risk
  • The same study showed reduced levels of neurotoxic proteins in the brains of those on Sildenafil, suggesting it could help reduce tau and amyloid plaque (key indicators of Alzheimer’s). 
  • Always check the APOE gene. If you have the gene, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will or will not get Alzheimer’s. 

Repurposing medicines isn’t new, but in my opinion, they remain undervalued despite their enormous potential. The potential of Viagra being able to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s is great news! If you have a loved one that has Alzheimer’s, consider sharing these findings with your provider. This could be a turning point in preventative strategies for a heartbreaking disease. 

As always, do your own research. 

Stay educated. Stay healthy. 

Till next week.