Brazilian Study Shows That a Spider Venom Based Gel Could Substitute Viagra

More effective than Viagra and without side effects: It is the promise of a new molecule extracted from the highly toxic venom of a Brazilian spider, which could be a promising treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Phoneutria Nigriventer

Phoneutria Nigriventer. Image Courtesy of Techuser

It is the nightmare of a spider phobic: Phoneutria nigriventer, also known as the armed spider, is a species native to Central and South America, 13 to 15 cm long. Its bite is very painful and causes edema, loss of muscle control, paralysis, kidney and liver damage, and breathing difficulties that can lead to suffocation. However, this dreaded poison has another, particularly sought-after effect: it causes priapism, long, stressful erections.

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A dermal gel more effective than Viagra

In a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Brazilian researchers found a way to synthesize one of the molecules of this toxin responsible for erections, called PnPP-19, and integrate it into a simple gel that is applied to the skin. “PnPP-19 is showing promising results as a new treatment for erectile dysfunction,” the researchers are pleased to report, that the treatment is more effective than Viagra, particularly in hypertension and diabetic patients in whom sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, is not effective.

An erection in less than 20 minutes

The molecule, which has been modified to rid it of its toxic effects, acts on the same principles as sildenafil: it enhances the action of nitric oxide, the release of which promotes the relaxation of the smooth muscles of the erectile tissue and leads to blood flow to the penis. But since it is used dermally, it does not cause the side effects of oral pills (dizziness, headaches, visual and digestive disturbances…) and is not likely to cause drug interactions. Researchers have been able to induce an erection in mice in less than 20 minutes, increasing the blood flow to the penis by 113% and causing the organ to swell for about an hour. No adverse effects were observed.

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A previous study had shown that another protein derived from the armed spider venom, PnTx2-6, improves erections in mice suffering from lesions of the corpus cavernosum.

References

PnPP-19 Peptide Restores Erectile Function in Hypertensive and Diabetic Animals Through Intravenous and Topical Administration

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