Huntington Medical Research Institutes Present First-of-its-Kind Study Examining Impact of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs on Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events and Mortality

Erectile dysfunction drugs may help prevent death and complications due to heart disease, according to large-population study presented at American Heart Association’s QCOR Scientific Sessions

PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Men who take Viagra, Cialis or Levitra and other drugs of the same class for erectile dysfunction (ED) experience lower rates of heart failure and death due to heart disease compared to other men, according to a study presented on May 13 at scientific meetings of the American Heart Association in Reston, Virginia.

Scientists from Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI) in Pasadena, HealthCore Inc. and the University of California San Francisco analyzed health records of more than 70,000 men with ED. They compared rates of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) and death amongst men who took phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE-5i) drugs—including Viagra, Cialis and Levitra—to rates among men who never took these drugs.

“We initially looked at this study as a cardiovascular safety study, but we were surprised to see the association between the use of these drugs and the significant beneficial effects on cardiovascular outcomes,” said principal investigator Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD, chief science officer and scientific director of cardiovascular research at HMRI. “These drugs may have cardioprotective effects that could eventually go beyond their current uses.”

“Our research represents the first time the effect of PDE-5i drugs on cardiovascular health has been explored in a large population of relatively low-risk men with ED in the United States,” stated co-investigator Julia E. Bradsher, PhD, MBA, President and CEO of HMRI. “The number of patients involved gives us a great deal of confidence in the results.”

Among the men who took PDE-5i medications for ED compared to men who did not take these drugs, Kloner’s study identified:

  • 39% reduction in death due to heart disease,
  • 22% reduction in unstable angina,
  • 17% reduction in heart failure,
  • 15% reduction in the need for revascularization procedures such as angioplasty, stenting and bypass surgery,
  • 13% reduction in MACE, and
  • 25% reduction in death due to any cause.

Furthermore, men who had received more of a PDE-5i medication experienced greater reductions in MACE, including a 55% reduction in MACE in those with the highest amount of tablets dispensed versus those with the lowest amount.

Kloner and his co-investigators—Bradsher; Eric Stanek, Christopher L. Crowe, Mukul Singhal, and Rebecca S. Pepe of Healthcore Inc.; and Raymond Rosen of University of California San Francisco—drew anonymized patient records from a large U.S. commercial and Medicare insurance claims database. The study, funded by a grant from Sanofi, examined records over approximately 14 years.

Since the study was retrospective, Kloner noted that further research is needed to prove that PDE-5i drugs caused the reduction in cardiovascular events that he and his co-investigators observed. “To prove causality, a prospective, randomized clinical trial using placebos would need to be carried out,” he said. “But there are signals that suggest that may be the case, especially given the fact that we saw a dose response. The higher the dose, the lesser the cardiac event rate.”

If PDE-5i drugs are proven to cause these effects, they could provide new therapies that would help prevent a number of adverse cardiovascular conditions, such as heart failure and death related to coronary artery disease. Kloner noted, “Another focus of our research is the study of new therapies to reduce the size of heart attack or reduce heart failure after a heart attack. Such therapies have the potential to save thousands of lives.”

To learn more about HMRI’s biomedical research initiatives, visit

Notes for Media

The study was presented as an abstract titled “The Effect Of Phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibitors On Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events And Mortality In A Large Cohort Of Men With Erectile Dysfunction From A Nationwide Insurance Database: A Retrospective Study” at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care & Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions on May 13.

Journalists wishing to interview the principal investigator should contact Audrey Chittick at

About HMRI

Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI) works to improve millions of lives through patient-focused scientific research. We conduct life-changing studies of the heart, the brain and the vascular intersection between the two. Our scientists seek solutions to daunting cardiovascular and neurological challenges, like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, migraine and mental illness. For more information, visit


Audrey Chittick
mPR, Inc. for Huntington Medical Research Institutes

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