Skip to content

Children's Health

Viagra, Cialis for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?

Small study finds impotence drugs improved blood flow to muscles in boys with the progressive disease
Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

All of the boys with muscular dystrophy could still walk, but some also used a wheelchair or a scooter.

The researchers measured the blood flow in all the boys when they were at rest and when they were doing a handgrip exercise. The tests showed that the boys with Duchenne had abnormal blood flow, even though they were taking steroids.

After giving Cialis or Viagra to the boys with Duchenne, the tests were repeated. After two weeks, the boys who received Cialis were given Viagra and those given Viagra were given Cialis, then all were retested.

Victor's group found that both drugs improved blood flow in boys with Duchenne to the point where it was equal to that of healthy boys.

As for side effects, "A few boys in our study had erections after taking these drugs," Victor noted. "The erections were not painful and not dangerous and resolved spontaneously without treatment."

What's not yet clear is if correcting the abnormal blood flow to the muscles will slow the progress of the disease in any way. But Victor hopes a larger trial will answer that question.

"The findings in this small study led to a large clinical trial, which is enrolling now in the U.S. and abroad, to see if 48 weeks of treatment with once-daily Cialis will slow the decline in walking ability in 7- to 14-year-old boys with Duchenne," he said.

"The findings offer some hope, but we need to wait for the results of the large treatment trial to see if daily treatment with Cialis has a clinically meaningful benefit for boys with this form of muscular dystrophy," he added.

Dr. Migvis Monduy, a pediatric neurologist at Miami Children's Hospital, said: "It's exciting to see new treatment options available for Duchenne. It's not like we have any cure or any effective treatment."

Monduy said that these new findings are very preliminary. The researchers showed that blood flow is improved, she said. "But that doesn't translate to slower disease progression. That's what needs to be proved."

The results of this study won't change clinical practice for the time being, Monduy said.

"We are not going to have anybody prescribing this until we see the results of larger studies, and I wouldn't tell anybody to stop their steroids yet," she said. "We have good evidence that steroids slow down disease progression. But we don't know if these drugs [Cialis or Viagra] will improve outcomes for patients."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
 
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.
 

worried kid
fitArticle
boy on father's shoulder
Article
 
Child with red rash on cheeks
Slideshow
girl thinking
Article
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

babyapp
New
Child with adhd
Slideshow
 
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
Syringes and graph illustration
Tool