When men buy sildenafil, tadalafil or other PDE5 inhibitors, they are typically buying them because they are the first-line treatment to help with erectile dysfunction.
This is not always the case, however, as due to the drug’s popularity and history as a repositioned drug, a lot of research has taken place to see if ED medication can help with everything from hypertension to stopping flowers from drooping to even saving lives on the tops of mountains.
Whilst this can seem ridiculous, with sildenafil’s initial proposed use as an angina treatment there is the potential for the medication to do a lot more than you may expect.
Here are some of the oddest pieces of research ever undertaken on the uses and effects of ED medication.
Cures Jet Lag In Hamsters
Whilst this may look like a non-sequitur, a small research team based at Universidad Nacional de Quilmes in Buenos Aires, Argentina actually published a paper looking into the effects of sildenafil on the recovery time from jet lag in hamsters.
Their findings, which were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2007, found that hamsters given a selective PDE5 inhibitor can help hamsters adapt their circadian rhythms to a new time zone, which whilst unlikely to help all but the most jet setting small mammals, could have translated to a jet lag treatment for humans.
The Secret To Sports Success
The connection between ED medication and men’s sports is pretty close at times. Pele was one of the early spokesmen for the product that helped men to talk about ED, there was the Viagra race car driven by Mark Martin and other sports stars have endorsed ED medication.
However, certain sports stars believe that PDE5 inhibitors help them on the field as well, using the logic that since PDE5 inhibitors open the blood vessels, this means more blood flows around the body, helping enhance muscle performance and cardio endurance.
One particular niche where this benefit is exploited most is when playing in high altitude areas, such as Denver, Colorado and Bolivia.
In the case of the latter, there have been several stories of teams using viagra when playing in La Paz, Bolivia’s capital city that is over 3,500m above sea level, from Blooming (based in Santa Cruz) to the Argentina national team, who have on multiple occasions used it to help manage altitude sickness.
Sildenafil is not on the World Anti Doping Agency’s list of banned substances but is believed to help avoid the vasoconstriction that can come at a high altitude.
Helps Keep Flowers Straight
Currently, the main chemical used to keep flowers looking their best whilst in a bouquet is nitric oxide, but a study has suggested that a 1mg dilution of sildenafil can stop wilting for up to a week.
Whilst this seems like odd research, it does mean that if sildenafil becomes really cheap to produce it could be used to keep flowers stiff and full of life.
Can ED Medication Save Lives On The Mountain?
One fiercely debated effect of sildenafil is the potential it has to avoid the serious effects of high altitude sickness, such as hypertension, pulmonary oedema and cerebral oedema. The results are somewhat mixed; whilst there are suggestions that it can provide some relief, it is not the recommended treatment at a high altitude. Despite this, it is notable that PDE5 inhibitors were tested to see if they could be the solution to altitude sickness.