VIAGRA FOR PREGNANT WOMEN? STUDY IS UNDERWAY TO SEE IF VIAGRA HELPS GROWTH OF UNDERWEIGHT BABIES IN THE WOMB

Pregnant women could be given VIAGRA to ‘boost baby growth’

  • Study is underway to see if sex drug can boost survival of babies who are not growing the womb
  • Previous studies found that Viagra could help babies thrive by boosting blood supply to the placenta

By Pat Hagan Daily Mail  PUBLISHED: 15 July 2013

Pregnant women could be given the anti-impotence drug Viagra to boost the growth of underweight babies.

A trial is underway to see if the little blue pill can boost survival in babies that are not growing properly in the womb.

More than 120 women carrying extremely low-growth babies will be given regular doses of sildenafil citrate, a generic version of Viagra, during their pregnancy.

 
A previous study found that the sex drug Viagra boosted blood flow to the placenta, which in turn promoted baby growthA previous study found that the sex drug Viagra boosted blood flow to the placenta, which in turn promoted baby growth

The results will then be compared with those from a similar group of women given an identical looking dummy tablet.

The trial has been set up after laboratory studies suggested Viagra, which was launched in the UK in 1998 as the world’s first pill for erectile dysfunction, could help babies thrive in the womb by boosting the blood supply to the placenta.

Around 600 babies a year in the UK are stillborn because of a pregnancy disorder called pre-eclampsia.

 The arteries feeding the placenta do not widen enough to deliver all the blood the baby needs. 

But during tests foetal deaths dropped sharply in pregnant mice given Viagra. The drug helps by relaxing muscles in the artery walls and allowing more nutrient-rich blood to pump through.

Now scientists in New Zealand and Australia are recruiting pregnant women for the first human trial of Viagra for foetal growth.

 
Around 600 babies a year in the UK are stillborn because of a pregnancy disorder called pre-eclampsia. The arteries feeding the placenta do not widen enough to deliver all the blood the baby needsAround 600 babies a year in the UK are stillborn because of a pregnancy disorder called pre-eclampsia. The arteries feeding the placenta do not widen enough to deliver all the blood the baby needs

There is currently no treatment for growth restriction, other than early delivery once a baby is in danger,’ said Dr Kate Groom, who is leading the research at the University of Auckland.

‘If we can enhance foetal growth and delay delivery, we will improve babies’ survival rates and reduce the many complications that can lead to life-long disability or disease.’

Similar trials are planned for the UK in the next few years.

Although Viagra was launched to help men’s flagging sex lives, it has since found several other uses.

The drug has been used to save the lives of both babies and adults suffering from a condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension, which affects around 4,000 people in the UK.

Blood pressure becomes dangerously high in the pulmonary artery, which carries blood from the right side of the heart to the small arteries in the lungs.

But a Viagra-based drug, called Revatio, is extending the lives of some sufferers by boosting blood flow to the lungs, reducing the workload on the heart.

The drug has also shown potential as a treatment for everything from breast cancer and diabetes to cold hands and heart attacks.

Findings from the initial trials in New Zealand and Australia are expected to emerge by early 2017.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2364151/Pregnant-women-given-VIAGRA-boost-baby-growth.html#ixzz2ZC7VDFyf
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