February 7, 2008 / 7:02 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 1-Anti-impotence pill could boost high flying pilots

(Updates with army denial)

JERUSALEM, Feb 7 (Reuters) - A drug used to treat impotence could help Israeli fighter pilots operate at high altitude, the Israeli military’s official magazine reported in its latest issue.

It said a retired general plans to present to the air force the results of a study he conducted on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania where he found that tadalafil, the active ingredient in Cialis tablets, improved breathing in a thin atmosphere.

“The study’s findings justify the continuation of tests with drugs of this type in low oxygen environments,” an unnamed air force officer told Bamahaneh, the military’s weekly magazine.

An army spokeswoman said that there were no plans to use any such drug and a statement said the phenomenon of chronic oxygen starvation experienced by mountaineers and the immediate oxygen starvation which pilots suffer at high altitude are different.

“(Because of the different circumstances) there is no significance for medical treatment of any drug for pilots in the Israel Air Force ... and it has no intention of using any form of drug,” the statement read. (Writing by Joseph Nasr and Ori Lewis; Editing by Stephen Weeks)

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