OHSU researcher thinks 'female Viagra' may help fight blindness - KPTV - FOX 12

OHSU researcher thinks 'female Viagra' may help fight blindness

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(AP Photo/Allen G. Breed) (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Researchers at OHSU think a drug meant to help women with their sex drive may also help fight blindness.

These two medical conditions certainly don't sound like they have anything in common, but OHSU Associate Professor Dr. Mark Pennesi found they actually do since both involve serotonin receptors.

Pennesi researches retinal eye diseases and was studying a drug called Ketanserin when he heard an ad on the radio last year for a drug called Flibanserin.

The new drug was essentially marketed as the Viagra for women, and it was already approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The similarity in the name instantly caught his attention, so Pennesi went to work in the lab the next day.

Over the course of about eight months, he found that the drug meant for sexual dysfunction actually prevented the retina from degenerating in light exposure tests with mice.

While this development is exciting news, Pennesi said it's just the first step in the process and that a lot of work still has to be done.

Because this drug is already FDA approved, doctors believe getting it to clinical trials in people with eye disease will be an easier process.

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