California researchers have discovered entirely new applications for Viagra, the first erectile dysfunction drug to win federal approval.
An article in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology said altitude researchers have been testing Viagra for use by both high performance athletes and soldiers after its approval to treat pulmonary hypertension, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Pulmonary hypertension, or high fluid pressure in the lungs, is caused by exercise in oxygen-poor environments. As blood vessels in the lungs constrict, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body.
Researchers at Stanford University and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System had test subjects ride stationary bicycles for six kilometers and breath through masks to simulate low-oxygen conditions found at 12,700 feet.
The subjects given Viagra improved their times an average of 39 percent.
The Times said military researchers are now considering a study to see whether Viagra could help soldiers function better at high altitudes like the mountains of Afghanistan.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
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