The Next Viagra Could Come From ... Spider Venom
One bite known to cause four-hour erections
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2011 1:00 PM CST
A female banana spider carries its catch back to the center of her web for safe keeping, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008, in Tallahassee, Fla.   (AP Photo/Phil Coale)

(Newser) – One bite from the Brazilian wandering spider can cause loss of muscle control, difficulty breathing, and even death. But, good news! It can also cause four-hour-long erections, and that’s the side effect researchers are excited about. One of the toxins found in the spider’s venom causes priapism, “a condition in which the penis is continually erect,” says a physiologist who is currently studying the side effect. She believes that toxin could be used to treat erectile dysfunction, the Daily Mail reports.

In an experiment, she was able to “normalize the erectile dysfunction” in ED-suffering rats with high blood pressure using the toxin; they were able to achieve erections without any unpleasant side effects. That opens up the possibility of developing an alternative treatment, since “some patients don’t respond to the conventional therapy” including Viagra, she says. The spider in question, which has a terrifying leg span of more than four inches, is typically found in tropical banana plantations of South and Central America and is also called a banana spider.
 

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