News & Opinion | March 9, 2019 10:00 am

Spider Venom Gel Could Be More Effective Than Viagra

The deadly insect bite causes a four-hour erection in victims.

PTSD Causes Erectile Dysfunction
The DoD spends $84 million per year on Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction, a symptom of PTSD. (Raphael GAILLARDE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The toxic venom of wandering spiders, also known as the banana spider, could lead to a topical treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), The Independent reports.

Scientists in Brazil at the Federal University of Minas Gerais made a synthetic form of a the toxin and applied it topically to mice suffering from ED. The study found that mice who had the gel applied to their genitals experience swelling of the penis “lasting about 60 minutes.”

The authors of the study, which was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, says that the compound they created (PnPP-19) could become “a promising alternative for erectile dysfunction treatment.”

A similar chemical cream was tested last year and found that men experienced an erection within 30 minutes of applying the gel to their penis.

Once applied, the drug boosts production of nitric oxide which dilated the blood vessels in the penis, causing it to swell with blood. That result is similar to Viagra, except you apply the cream topically instead of ingesting the drug in pill form.

Professor Maria Elena de Lima, the study’s lead author, says the new gel could “help millions of people worldwide” who suffer from ED.