Viagra May Help Treat Lymphatic Malformation

Research begins to see if the pill usually used for older men can help young children overcome a difficult condition.

By Marianne Favro
|  Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012  |  Updated 11:36 PM CDT
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The little blue pill Viagra is known for helping men perform better in the bedroom but now it is being used to help children with a lymphatic disorder. Marianne Favro talks to a local doctor who is a believer.

NBC Bay Area

The little blue pill Viagra is known for helping men perform better in the bedroom but now it is being used to help children with a lymphatic disorder. Marianne Favro talks to a local doctor who is a believer.

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The little blue pill Viagra is known for helping men perform better in the bedroom, but now it is being used to help children with a lymphatic disorder.

Early reports show Sildenafil, better known under the brand name Viagra and sold as a treatment for erectile dysfunction, reduced the size of growths in some children with lymphatic malformation, an abnormal sponge-like growth that contains clear fluid.

The malformation causes cysts to swell and clog up the lymphatic system often leaving children with massive and sometimes deadly growths on their faces and necks.

Dr. Al Lane, a pediatric dermatologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, treated an infant girl who had severe lymphatic malformation.

She had growths that swelled up in her chest and wrapped around her heart, putting her at high risk of heart failure.

Lane gave her Sildenafil, and the drug helped her heart problems. He also noticed a massive reduction in the lymphatic malformation.

So far, only a handful of pediatric patients have been treated with Viagra for the disease. Now research is underway to see if the drug can help more patients and whether the drug is safe to give to children.

Currently there is no cure for lymphatic malformation.

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