Cialis is widely known for being a drug to correct erectile dysfunction, but studies show it may be a valuable treatment option for slowing the muscle weakening that occurs with Becker muscular dystrophy.
Becker muscular dystrophy, or BMD, is a disorder that slowly decreases the muscle strength of the legs and pelvis. It is an inherited disease that is more often found in boys. Three-to-six out of every 100,000 births results in BMD. Over time, those with BMD lose the ability to walk. By the age of 30, most patients need a wheelchair for mobility.
The study was conducted by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Professor Ronald G. Victor says studies had already shown Cialis to be effective when given to mice with an animal type of muscular dystrophy, and he wanted to see if the drug would be effective in humans.
Measurements of the male participants’ forearm muscles were taken at rest and after activity. Most had a defective blood flow when they exercised, which the researches believe contributes to muscle fatigue and weakness.
Half of the group was given a single treatment of Cialis, and the other half was given a placebo, or dummy pill. The results of the study were impressive. Eight out of nine patients who were given the Cialis pill had normal blood flow restored to the forearms.
Researchers caution that more studies need to be done before doctors begin prescribing the drug for use in Becker muscular dystrophy patients. The studies need to see if there is a long-term benefit for muscular dystrophy, and rule out any possible negative side effects before it is prescribed as a means of delaying or preventing muscle-wasting in BMD patients.
Cialis, or tadalafil, dialates blood vessels and increases blood flow. It has gained popularity as it is longer acting than Viagra. In 2011, Cialis brought in $1.875 billion for Eli Lilly, the company that owns the brand.
The full results of the study were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. The clinical trial for further testing can be found here.