Hello, Sudhir Polisetty here with another melanoma blog post. In recent years, troubling findings have been uncovered linking melanoma to erectile dysfunction drugs. PDE5A inhibitors, including sildenafil, Viagra, and other erectile dysfunction drugs could potentially increase the risk of melanoma, but thus far, the study is unable to demonstrate a thorough cause-and-effect relationship.
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed 25,848 men who enrolled in a Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study. After adjusting for other known risk factors, such as number of moles, natural hair color, family history, and number of sunburns in a lifetime, the study showed that men who had recently used sildenafil were twice as likely to develop melanoma. Those who had used sildenafil in the past, but not recently, showed a slight increased risk. Erectile dysfunction alone, however, didn’t appear to have any significant association to the disease.
The study focused exclusively on the sildenafil contained drug, Viagra, as other erectile dysfunction drugs containing PDE5A inhibitors were unavailable at the start of the study. Investigators assume that tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra) would produce similar results. In fact, investigators pointed out that because these drugs are longer-acting, the risk for melanoma may even be greater than that from Viagra.
June Robinson, author of an accompanying editorial, believes that a prospective study is necessary before any clinical recommendations are changed. Since the study was retrospective, interpret this information cautiously.
Although melanoma is currently incurable, early detection is key. In 2014 alone, 76,100 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed and 9,710 patients will die from the disease. This being said, in spite of the study’s insufficient findings, a continued investigation should be supported. Physicians may consider performing melanoma screenings before writing prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs.
You can find more information about the study here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryhusten/2014/04/08/study-suggests-link-between-viagra-and-melanoma/
Thanks for reading!