7 Medications for Pulmonary Hypertension
Unfortunately, there is still no known cure available for pulmonary hypertension, but research has been evolving and doctors and scientists have been discovering some new ways to approach the lung condition.
According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some types of treatments or medications are available to help treat pulmonary hypertension.
1. Blood vessel dilators (vasodilators).
Pulmonary hypertension is a disease that narrows the blood vessels. Blood vessel dilators work to open narrowed blood vessels. Epoprostenol (Flolan) is one of the vasodilators most commonly prescribed. However, because the medication effect only lasts a few minutes, epoprostenol needs to be injected over and over again intravenously through a pump that PH patients wear in a pack on their belt or shoulder. Like all medications, it has its side effects which include jaw pain, nausea, diarrhea, and leg cramps among others.
2. Endothelin receptor antagonists.
Endothelin is the substance that causes the blood vessels to narrow. Endothelin receptor antagonists are medications that reverse this effect. Bosentan (Tracleer) is one of these medications. While taking it, pulmonary hypertension patients may see their energy levels improved and their symptoms relieved. If you are prescribed this medication, you will need monthly liver monitoring since the very strong drug can cause liver damage. A similar medication to Bosentan, which also stops the narrowing of your blood vessels, is ambrisentan (Letairis).
3. Sildenafil and Tadalafil.
Sildenafil (Revatio) and tadalafil (Adcirca) are sometimes used to treat pulmonary hypertension. Sildenafil and its compounds have been found to improve exercise ability and reduce clinical PAH disease progression. Tadalafil, marketed under the name Adcirca, is used to treat patients with PAH because it can also improve exercising ability. Both medications are used to open the blood vessels in the lungs. As a result, they allow blood to flow through more easily.
4. High-dose calcium channel blockers.
These types of medication help relax the muscles in the walls of blood vessels. Amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac) and nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia) are some of the high-dose calcium channel blockers available for pulmonary hypertension treatment.
Anticoagulants are important to help prevent blood clots from forming in the pulmonary arteries. Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) is one of the more common anticoagulants prescribed. Anticoagulants also prevent normal blood coagulation, and for this reason it’s possible they may increase the risk of bleeding complications. Because of the possibility of serious or severe side effects, it is important to take this medication as the doctor prescribed and follow all included directions.
Diuretics are used to help eliminate excess fluid from the body. Usually known as water pills, they reduce the work your heart has to do. They can also be used to help your lungs limit fluid build ups.
Because people with pulmonary hypertension have difficulties breathing, they always need oxygen. It’s possible your doctor may suggest you breathe pure oxygen – a treatment known as oxygen therapy – to help treat PAH.
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