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Viagra Provides Relief for Menstrual Cramps

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 17 Dec 2013
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A new study shows that sildenafil citrate—commercially known as Viagra—could provide some relief for women suffering from primary dysmenorrhea (PD).

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine (Hershey, PA, USA) and Nova Gradiska General Hospital (Croatia) conducted a double blind, randomized trial comparing a vaginal preparation of sildenafil citrate (100 mg single dose) to a placebo in 62 PD patients between December 2007 and January 2011, at the time of painful menstruation. The primary outcome was total pain relief over four consecutive hours (TOPAR4). Secondary outcomes were pain relief as measured by the visual analog scale (VAS) and uterine artery pulsatility index (PI).

The study terminated when 25 subjects had completed the study due to budgetary constraints. When using the TOPAR4 score, the sildenafil citrate group had significantly better menstrual pain relief compared with the placebo. On the VAS, sildenafil citrate provided better pain relief than placebo at each time point. After two hours, the PI was significantly lower in the sildenafil citrate group compared with the placebo group. Although the researchers thought the drug soothed pain by increasing blood flow, they observed that both sildenafil and the placebo increased uterine blood flow, leaving the question of why Viagra alleviates pain unanswered. The study was published in the November 2013 issue of Human Reproduction.

“If future studies confirm these findings, sildenafil may become a treatment option for patients with PD,” said lead author Professor of obstetrics and gynecology and public health sciences Richard Legro, MD. “Since PD is a condition that most women suffer from and seek treatment for at some points in their lives, the quest for new medication is justified.”

A number of anti-inflammatory medications, for example ibuprofen, have been investigated to improve the treatment options for PD, but most have proven unsuccessful or to have an unfavorable risk/benefit ratio. Also, they do not work for all women, and are associated with ulcers and kidney damage when used repeatedly. Erectile dysfunction drugs have previously shown an improvement in pelvic pain when taken orally, but this can often result in headaches.

Related Links:

Penn State College of Medicine
Nova Gradiska General Hospital

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