Impotency Drugs Do Not Increase Melanoma Risk

Drugs like Viagra previously thought to increase risk of malignant melanoma.

Drugs like Viagra previously thought to increase risk of malignant melanoma.

Individuals who use impotency drugs such as Viagra do not carry an increased risk of developing malignant melanoma, a recent study found.

In a prior study, researchers from Harvard University suggested that the phosphodiesterase inhibitor (PDEi) drug Viagra stimulated the growth of melanoma cells. The current study, published recently in JAMA, contradicted these findings.

"Our research shows that already collecting one single prescription of a PDEi drug, such as Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra, was linked with a statistically significant increased risk of melanoma; something that speaks against a biological connection," said study lead Pär Stattin, Professor of Urology at Umeå University, in a press release.

The study showed the risk was highest for early, superficial melanoma, which raises concerns about a causal association between PDEi use and melanoma. Additionally, the researchers found that men prescribed PDEi were healthier, had higher education, and higher income than other men.

"Our results speak against that drugs for impotence increase the risk of melanoma,” Stattin said. “Data rather suggest that men using Viagra, Cialis and Levitra tend to sunbathe more, are more health-conscious and more often seek medical care for skin moles; leading to a higher risk of a melanoma diagnosis. The most important risk factor for melanoma is exposure to strong sunlight, so protection against UV exposure remains the cornerstone in melanoma protection.”