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Statins can work like Viagra: researchers 2016-08-31
The drugs, used by around eight million people in Britain every day to help reduce the potential for heart disease, were found to act in a similar way to Viagra.
Greek scientists discovered that erectile function improved in men with high cholesterol levels who took statins during a three-month study, the Daily Telegraph reported.
But the drugs were unlikely to bring about an upturn in men who had healthy levels of cholesterol.
The findings were announced at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Rome.
Lead researcher Alexios Samantzas, from Elpis Hospital in Athens, said: "Participants experienced a 43 per cent improvement in their erections, the effect is around half that of sildenafil (Viagra). This is very significant.
"But the important thing is that by improving cholesterol levels, patients were also benefiting from better erections. It is a win-win. And patients are not having to take specific drugs for erectile dysfunction."
The study examined 100 men between the ages of 40 and 70 with high levels of cholesterol and a history of impotence. Half received statins for three months while the others were untreated, and those taking the drugs saw a marked improvement in erectile function quality.
Mr Samantzas said the findings offered an "extra motivation" for patients considering whether to take statins, adding: "We hoped to see some small improvement, but it was much larger than expected."
Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, told the newspaper the study would help reassure men taking statins who were worried that the drug may cause erectile dysfunction.