Erectile Dysfunction Drug Viagra Linked With Higher Risk of Skin Cancer Melanoma

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on  June 25, 2015 at 7:34 AM Cancer News
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Erectile dysfunction is often treated with a class of drugs known as PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors. They include sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil, with the brand names such as Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and others. However, a new study has linked these medications to a slight increase in the risk of the skin cancer melanoma. The study stops short of proving that the drugs cause melanoma, but researchers said their findings warrant a closer look at PDE5 inhibitors.
 Erectile Dysfunction Drug Viagra Linked With Higher Risk of Skin Cancer Melanoma
Erectile Dysfunction Drug Viagra Linked With Higher Risk of Skin Cancer Melanoma

Researchers at New York University analyzed Swedish medical records from 2006 to 2012. They found about 4,000 cases of melanoma. Of those patients, 11% had filled at least one prescription for a PDE5 inhibitor to treat erectile dysfunction. When comparing these men to a control group of cancer-free men selected randomly from the same registry and matched by age, researchers found the risk of melanoma was 21% higher in men who took the erectile dysfunction drugs. The most pronounced risk was seen in men who had filled a single prescription (32% higher), while the risk of melanoma in men who filled multiple prescriptions was 14% higher, which was not statistically significant.

The researchers stressed that the risk of melanoma they found among erectile dysfunction drug takers was modest, and would translate to about seven additional cases of cancer per 100,000 men taking PDE5 inhibitors.

Chris Chapple, Secretary General of the European Association of Urology, said, "The findings are an interesting observation but more research is needed. This paper reports a previously unreported potential association. It's an interesting observation, but it should not be a trigger for any change in current clinical practice relating to the use of drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction such as Viagra and related compounds."

The research is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Source: AFP

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