Patients taking Viagra are less likely to suffer a heart attack, new research claims.
Men taking the impotence drug were found to have a lower risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart failure than those not on the medication.
The findings mean Viagra could soon be used to treat hundreds of thousands of heart failure patients and even prevent fatal heart attacks, scientists say.
Experts from the University of Manchester studied 6,000 diabetic patients who had been given Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction.
The drug relaxes muscle cells in the blood vessels supplying the penis, allowing more blood to flow there.
This increased blood flow increases the likelihood of getting an erection.
Given the increasing reports of deaths in which the use of Viagra may be implicated, clinicians need to exercise caution when advising their patients with heart
Experts believe a key ingredient in Viagra called PDE5i, which relaxes blood vessels, also prevents damage to heart cells.
Heart failure is caused by the heart failing to pump enough blood around the body at the right pressure.
It most often occurs because the heart muscle has become too weak or stiff to work properly and is usually treated with medication which supports the heart.
Despite diabetics being prone to heart problems, the study participants did not suffer as many incidents as similar patients not on the drug.