Pulmonary Hypertension - Treatments

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What was the treatment for your pulmonary hypertension?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white triangle:

What is the treatment for pulmonary hypertension?

The treatment for pulmonary hypertension depends on the underlying cause.

If left sided heart failure is the primary problem, then adequate treatment of the left heart failure by a cardiologist is the main stray of treatment.

In cases where hypoxia (low oxygen levels) due to any chronic lung disease, such as COPD, is the cause, then providing oxygen and appropriately treating the underlying lung disease by a lung doctor (pulmonologist) is the first step in treatment.

In some patients, the elevated pressure may be related to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), and can be reduced with the use of a CPAP, BIPAP (a device that delivers positive airway pressure during sleep).

In conditions, such as scleroderma, which often can cause pulmonary hypertension, a rheumatologist is involved in the treatment program.

Anticoagulation (thinning the blood) may be a treatment option if the main underlying cause is thought to be recurrent blood clot (chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension). As indicated in previous section, referral to a specialty center may be warranted for a possible surgical removal of blood clot (thromboendarterectomy).

For patients with primary pulmonary hypertension (those with no underlying cause), more advanced therapy may be attempted. These drugs have complex mechanisms, but in general they work by dilating (opening up) the pulmonary arteries and, therefore, by reducing the pressure in these blood vessels and some help prevent the excessive overgrowth of tissue in the blood vessels (that decrease remodeling of the vessels, as described previously). Besides constriction, PAH can result in an actual structural change of the pulmonary arteries, whether it is due to chronically elevated pressures or the disease itself, or a combination of the two is not completely clear. These drugs also can delay and in some cases reduce the degree of remodeling of the pulmonary arteries.

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 antagonists.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

In rare cases, calcium channel blockers 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.

It is worth mentioning that regardless of the cause of pulmonary hypertension, supplemental oxygen and diuretics (water pills) may play an important role in relieving the symptoms of pulmonary hypertension of any cause. Low oxygen in the atmosphere causes low blood oxygen levels and aggravates pulmonary hypertension. Therefore, patients with pulmonary hypertension may benefit from breathing supplemental oxygen, especially during air travel or traveling to high altitude destinations.

Despite advances in various treatments, there is no cure for pulmonary hypertension.

Return to Pulmonary Hypertension

See what others are saying

Comment from: ros85, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

I have been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) for just over 3 years. The only reason I found out I had PH was because of a tiny stroke I had in November 2010 (which was caused by a birth control I was on, NuvaRing). When I went to the emergency room (ER) the doctor on call said he didn't think it was a stroke and said it was migraines because of my age (26). We asked for a referral to the neurologist and waited 3.5 months to see him. Within a week I was sent for an echo and Holter monitor. From the echo the doctor knew exactly what I had and sent me the next day to the PH clinic where I was properly diagnosed. I do have daily struggles and good and bad days. I try to research as much as I can and get different kinds of feedback. I hold a full time job and a part time job, but take advice where it is offered. I rest as much as I can and look positively at life.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Lizzie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 19

After years of suffering worsening shortness of breath and weakness in my legs, and many visits to various specialists, my general physician sent me to a cardiologist she said would put me through a lot of tests, if I was willing. I was. After a number of scans, respiratory and sleep tests and echocardiograms, then finally a right heart catheter, I was diagnosed with severe pulmonary hypertension. Bosentan was prescribed and made a difference, but after only 3 months my liver function blood tests were bad so a change of medication to ambrisentan was made. I also had 2 cardiac stents inserted in arteries that were heading to blockage, and then 18 months later, a pacemaker for sick sinus syndrome. I am better than I've been for years. I am an Australian and lucky to receive all medication for a fraction of the normal cost. Various other medications have been prescribed during the last couple of years, but along with the ambrisentan, I am now on only cholesterol and blood pressure lowering medications and aspirin. Being physically active and walking keep me feeling good.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!