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Although sildenafil (Viagra) and other phosphodiesterase V (PDE V) inhibitors are increasingly recognized for their use in the treatment of male erectile dysfunction and perhaps more recently pulmonary artery hypertension, less is known of their potential beneficial effects in other situations. Medeiros et al., in the current issue of the British Journal of Pharmacology, report that sildenafil dramatically reduces alcohol-induced gastric damage in rats. The authors provide convincing evidence that such protection not only occurs via the nitric oxide (NO)/cGMP pathway, but also involves regulation of ATP-sensitive potassium channels. Therefore, in addition to exerting anti-impotence efficacy, PDE V inhibitors may provide significant beneficial effects from mucosal injury induced by alcohol.
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