NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A health alert regarding Viagra could have the pill’s users feeling a little blue.

As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez explained, for some men the risk of getting deadly melanoma is doubled before they even set foot in the sun, and it may be due to Viagra.

The study is worrisome, 25,000 male health professionals were followed for ten years. During that time researchers tracked which men developed melanoma, and whether they took Viagra.

It doesn’t mean that Viagra causes melanoma, it’s simply a statistical association that researchers noticed when they crunched the numbers.

“It may be that people who take Viagra are more likely to be out in the sun, or more active in some way. The problem with that idea though is that the other types of skin cancer risks were not increased. So, if it was just sun exposure, you’d expect all skin cancers would increase. In this situation, just the melanoma risk was increased,” Dr. Brian Horvath said.

There is still the possibility that it is the medicine, partly because the drug affects certain cell signals, similar o the signals that allow melanoma cells to spread.

“Viagra blocks an enzyme called phosphodiesterase, and most melanomas hae a mutation that also block that enzyme,” Dr. Horvath said.

At the time the study was started Viagra was the only FDA approved medicine for ED. Since then others such as Cialis, Levitra, and Stendra have come on the scene. Those drugs block the same enzyme as Viagra, and could display similar patterns.

CBS2’s Dr. Gomez reiterated that this is not a cause and effect, but dermatologists suggested that if you take an ED drug then regular skin checks are probably a good idea.

If you’ve had melanoma, doctors said to be cautious about taking Viagra in the future.

Experts said sunscreen is still the best protection against melanoma and other cancers.

 

 

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