A study indicates that erectile dysfunction wonder drugs may have long term health implications as a new study found the widely prescribed medications associated with an increased risk for skin cancer melanoma.
The Journal of the American Medical Association does not prove beyond doubt that the drugs, with brand names such as Levitra and Cialis, cause melanoma, but researchers claim their results require further exploration into medications such as PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5), which means Viagra as well.
Researchers discovered nearly 4,000 cases of melanoma with the help of Swedish medical records from 2006 to 2012. Approximately 11% of patients in those records had at least one prescription for a medication meant to treat erectile dysfunction.
Researchers found that the risks for cancer in those taking erectile dysfunction drugs were 21% higher when compared to a group of men without cancer, randomly selected from the same age and demographic.
However, the more significant risk appeared in men who filled only one prescription--it was 32% higher. Men who filled more than one faced 14% higher risks. This was not a significant statistic according to Stacy Loeb of NYU’s study.
It was also strange that men taking these drugs were more likely to have a lower-grade melanoma, and not more advanced cancer.
The risks for melanoma they discovered in these patients with ED was modest, and the authors emphasized that this would mean approximately seven more cancer cases per 100,000 men taking the drugs.
According to Secretary General of the European Association of Urology, Chris Chapple, the results are an "interesting observation," but require more investigation. "This paper reports a previously unreported potential association," he said.
The recent study suggesting that ED drugs are linked to skin cancer will not result in any major changes to the drugs or their distribution until more research can be compiled, and results can be proven but serve as a warning to users that they may come with risks not yet documented.