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Viagra and Increased Melanoma Risk – Is it the Drug or the Lifestyle?

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A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has reported that several erectile dysfunction drugs, including Viagra, might pose an increased risk of melanoma.

viagraThe study focuses on men who filled one prescription for erectile dysfunction drugs including Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, and found that the individuals who took these drugs had a 21 percent higher risk of developing melanoma, as compared with men who had no exposure to the drugs. But ED “super-users,” those who had filled more than six prescriptions of the drugs, did not exhibit a clear nexus to an elevated risk of melanoma associated with increased use, so it was determined that it was not necessarily Viagra and the other ED drugs themselves that led to the higher risk, but rather, the “Viagra lifestyle,” according to Forbes. Others seem to disagree and suggest ED drugs like Viagra may in fact linked to an increased risk of melanoma.

 

The Viagra Lifestyle?

According to lead study author Stacy Loeb, the Viagra lifestyle describes men with “higher socioeconomic status and income [who] are at greater risk for developing melanoma, due to their lifestyle, which is also strongly associated with use of [erectile dysfunction] medicines. These are also very expensive, but those men are more able to afford them.” And since their lifestyle may involve more travel to warm climates and increased exposure to the sun, they may be at a higher risk for developing melanoma.

The JAMA study reviewed the medical records of over 20,000 men in Sweden and found 4,065 who were diagnosed with melanoma between 2006 and 2012, 435 of which had used at least one of the impotence medications, and concluded that the medications themselves were not to blame, although the lifestyle might be.

The news will most likely be welcomed by the makers of Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra, which continue to bring in billions in sales per year. Although Pfizer reported $1.7 billion in Viagra revenue in 2014, stocks fell 0.61 percent to $34.29 on June 24, 2015 after the study was published, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The topic continues to be one of hot debate. As more studies and medical research are conducted we may learn more about the Viagra connection to melanoma and how serious a threat it really poses.

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