- Study is underway to see if the sexual drug can increase the survival of babies who are not growing the uterus
- Previous studies have found that Sildenafil (Kamagra) could help babies thrive by increasing blood supply to the placenta
Pregnant women may receive Sildenafil citrate impotence drug to increase the growth of underweight babies.
One trial is underway to see if the small blue pill can increase survival in babies who are not growing properly in the uterus.
More than 120 women who carry extremely low-growth babies will receive regular doses of sildenafil citrate, a generic version of Viagra (Kamagra), during their pregnancy.
The results will be compared with those of a similar group of women who received an identical-looking simulated tablet.
The trial has been launched after laboratory studies suggested Sildenafil could help babies thrive in the uterus by increasing Blood supply to the placenta.
About 600 babies a year in the UK are dead due to a pregnancy disorder called pre-eclampsia.
The arteries that feed the placenta do not widen enough to deliver all the blood the baby needs.
But during the tests, fetal deaths fell sharply in pregnant mice receiving Sildenafil. The drug helps relax muscles in the walls of the artery and allow blood to be richer in nutrients through the pump.
Now scientists in New Zealand and Australia are recruiting pregnant women for the first human trial of Viagra (Kamagra) for fetal growth.
There is currently no treatment for growth restriction other than early delivery once a baby is in danger, “said Dr. Kate Groom, who heads the research at the University of Auckland.
“If we can improve fetal growth and delay delivery, we will improve the survival rates of babies and reduce the many complications that can lead to disability or illness for life.
Similar trials are planned for the UK in the coming years.
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 of the lungs.
But a drug based on Viagra, called Revatio, is extending the lives of some patients by increasing 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.
The results of initial trials in New Zealand and Australia are expected to emerge in early 2017.