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Viagra may aggravate severe apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse and close off the airway during sleep.
NEW YORK: Viagra (sildenafil) taken at bedtime may worsen breathing problems in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea, results of a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggest.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common problem that occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse and close off the airway during sleep, resulting in brief moments in which breathing stops. Impotence, also known as erectile dysfunction, is highly prevalent in patients with obstructive sleep apnea, note Dr Suely Roizenblatt, of Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues.
However, sildenafil prolongs the action of nitric oxide, which promotes upper airway congestion. The researchers therefore examined the effects of a single 50-mg dose of sildenafil on the sleep of 14 men (average age, 53.1 years) with severe obstructive sleep apnea.
Compared with placebo, sildenafil led to a significantly increased desaturation index, the number of episodes of oxygen reduction per hour of recording time. There was also a significant increase in the percentage of total sleep time with an oxygen saturation of less than 90 per cent and a significant increase in the maximal duration of a desaturation event.
Sleep structure was also altered by sildenafil use, with in increase in stage 2 non-rapid eye movement sleep compared with placebo and a decrease in deep sleep compared with the start of the study and placebo, Dr Roizenblatt's team reports.

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