Sildenafil and AMD

Active ingredient in Viagra appears to offer safe and simple method for ocular treatment

Sean Henahan

Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2018

D Jackson Coleman

Sildenafil, better known as the active ingredient in Viagra, appears to offer a safe and simple method for treating age-related and vitelliform macular degeneration and central serous retinopathy, according to new research presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2018 Annual Meeting, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center enrolled 10 patients with macular disease. Patients received a low oral dose, 20mg per day of sildenafil, the dose used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. This is far lower than the dose used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Patients underwent spectral domain optical coherence tomography, colour fundus photography and visual acuity testing.

“We saw no loss of vision over a 30-month follow-up period. The data from this small study suggest that this could a nice way to treat ischaemia in these patients,” D Jackson Coleman MD, Professor of ophthalmology at Columbia University, New York, told EuroTimes.

The most significant result observed was the maintenance or improvement in the photoreceptor layer in a patient with Best vitelliform macular dystrophy. That patient also had a significant improvement in visual acuity. A patient with central serous retinopathy also showed early and significant improvement, he reported.

Sildenafil inhibits phosphodiesterase-5 and phosphodiesterase-6 in the choroid which increases choroidal perfusion. The drug also promotes oxidative metabolism, which decrease lipid biosynthesis, he explained.

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