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- Pulmonary hypertension facts
- How is pulmonary hypertension defined?
- What is pulmonary hypertension?
- What are primary (idiopathic) and secondary pulmonary hypertension?
- 8 signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension
- What causes of pulmonary hypertension
- What causes idiopathic pulmonary (primary) pulmonary hypertension?
- How common is pulmonary hypertension?
- What kind of doctor treats pulmonary hypertension?
- How is pulmonary hypertension diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for pulmonary hypertension?
- What medications treat pulmonary hypertension?
- Is there a cure for pulmonary hypertension?
- What is the life expectancy for pulmonary hypertension?
What medications treat pulmonary hypertension?
There are three major classes of drugs used to treat idiopathic pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary hypertension associated with collagen vascular diseases: 1) prostaglandins; 2) phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor; and 3) endothelium-receptor antagonists.
- Prostaglandins such as epoprostenol (Flolan), treprostinil (Remodulin, Tyvaso), iloprost (Ventavis). These drugs are very short-acting and often must be given intravenously or inhaled on a very frequent or continuous basis.
- Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors such as sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra) and tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis) are somewhat less effective than the prostaglandins, but are easily administered one to three times per day by mouth. (The dosing is much different when these drugs are used for erectile dysfunction.)
- Endothelium antagonists are the newest medications used for this condition. These include bosentan (Tracleer) and Ambrisentan (Letairis). These medications are also given by mouth one to two times per day.
What other drugs treat pulmonary hypertension?
- A unique drug, riociguat (Adempas), that is indicated for pulmonary hypertension due to chronic thromboembolic disease (CTEPH). The mechanism of action is different then the drugs above. It works by increasing the effect of nitric oxide causing increased pulmonary vasodilation.
- In rare cases, calcium channel blockers (CCBS) may be of benefit.
Currently, research is investigating the best ways to combine these medications for the optimal clinical outcomes. It should be noted that these medications are extremely expensive, costing thousands of thousands of dollars per year. The companies that manufacture these medications often have programs to assist in funding. These more advanced therapies have also been used for other forms of pulmonary hypertension, however, no clinical studies have yet confirmed benefits in these situations.