Anti-impotency Viagra drug used to prevent serious growth complications affecting babies in the womb is ineffective, finds a study. Foetal growth restriction, commonly called intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), is a complicated pregnancy condition, in which a baby does not grow to normal weight.
The condition develops when the placenta fails to develop correctly as a result of poor flow of blood through it.
Sildenafil, sold under the brand name Viagra causes blood vessels to relax and has been used for many years for the treatment of male erectile problems.
Viagra had emerged as a potential management option in the treatment of IUGR.
Improving the blood supply to the placenta should improve the growth and well-being of the IUGR baby, said researchers from the University of Liverpool.
However, the study, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, revealed that when Sildenafil was administered to pregnant women with a severely growth-restricted foetus, it did not prolong pregnancy, improve survival, or reduce short-term neonatal morbidity.
“Sadly the use of this drug in this way was ineffective,” said Zarko Alfirevic, Professor at the varsity.
“However, as part of our continuing research, we are now monitoring the growth and development of the babies who participated in the trial to learn even more about this disease and its implications with a view to help us to identify possible treatment options in the future,” Alfirevic added.
For the study, the team recruited 135 women who were less than 30 weeks into their pregnancies with an IUGR baby. Of these, 70 of the women were prescribed Sildenafil and 65 women a placebo.