How many men take viagra? Study says drug cuts Alzheimer’s risk

How many men take viagra Study says drug cuts Alzheimer's risk

Viagra has long been used as a helping hand in the bedroom and as a way for men to treat erectile dysfunction – but a new study has found that it could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease too.

The large-scale study, published in the journal Neurology, followed 269,000 men with erectile dysfunction and an average age of 59 over a five-year period and compared results of the 55% of the cohort who were prescribed viagra and the 45% who were not.

It found that those taking viagra were one fifth (18%) less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who weren’t on the medication.

“These results are encouraging and warrant further research, which is needed to confirm these findings, learn more about the potential benefits and mechanisms of these drugs, and look into the optimal dosage,” Dr Ruth Brauer, of University College London, says.

“A randomised, controlled trial with both male and female participants is warranted to determine whether these findings would apply to women as well.”

The researchers are not clear on why the drug can help prevent the memory disorder and say further studies are needed.

What is viagra?

Viagra is a drug that is primarily used to treat erectile dysfunction, which is a common condition that sees men struggle to get and keep an erection.

It can also be used to treat pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the blood vessels that supply the lungs.

Senior man, divorce and stress on bed with anxiety and erectile dysfunction with infidelity, marriage and frustrated. Elderly, person and bedroom, depression and fight with conflict or problems
Erectile dysfunction affects nearly half of British men. (Getty Images)

Viagra works by dilating blood vessels to allow more blood to flow through to the penis, and men can take it up to four hours before they want to have sex. The NHS states that it won’t work on its own, and that men have to be sexually excited to see results.

How common is viagra use in the UK?

Almost half of men in the UK (48%) say they can struggle to get and keep an erection.

According to Pharmacy Direct, in 2021 over 4.1 million prescriptions for viagra or similar erectile dysfunction medications were given out in the UK.

Viagra side effects

According to the NHS, some common side effects of viagra include:

  • Headaches
  • Feeling sick and nauseous
  • Hot flushes
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Stuffy nose
  • Feeling dizzy

Serious side effects are rare, but include loss of vision and an allergic reaction. If you notice signs of either of these, call 999 right away.

When to consider viagra use

Most men over the age of 18 can take viagra if they have erectile dysfunction. If you notice any signs of erectile dysfunction, such as struggling to get and keep an erection, speak to your GP about your options.