Researchers from Sweden’s Umea University have revealed that the use of drugs for impotence will not raise the risk of malignant melanoma, in a collaboration with researchers in Uppsala, Lund and New York.

The study was conducted using data from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register, the Swedish Melanoma Register, and other health care registers and demographic databases in Sweden.

Published in US medical journal JAMA, the findings contradict a previous research that was carried out by a team from Harvard University in Boston.

The US research team interpreted that Viagra, a phosphodiesterase inhibitor (PDEi) drug used against impotence, stimulated the growth of melanoma cells and thus increased the risk of malignant melanoma of the skin.

"Our results speak against that drugs for impotence increase the risk of melanoma."

Umea University Urology professor Pär Stattin, who led the investigation, said: "Our research shows that already collecting one single prescription of a PDEi drug, such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, was linked with a statistically significant increased risk of melanoma; something that speaks against a biological connection."

The Swedish study also found the risk was highest for early, superficial melanoma and that men who received prescriptions for PDEi were healthier.

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Pär Stattin concluded: "Our results speak against that drugs for impotence increase the risk of melanoma. Data rather suggest that men using Viagra, Cialis and Levitra tend to sunbathe more, are more health-conscious and more often seek medical care for skin moles; leading to a higher risk of a melanoma diagnosis.

"The most important risk factor for melanoma is exposure to strong sunlight, so protection against UV exposure remains the cornerstone in melanoma protection."

Image: A melanoma on a patient’s skin. Photo: courtesy of National Cancer Institute.