Emerging drugs for pulmonary hypertension

Reda E Girgis
Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs 2010, 15 (1): 71-85

IMPORTANCE OF THE FIELD: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a clinical syndrome characterized by structural narrowing of the small pulmonary arteries that often culminates in fatal right heart failure.

AREAS COVERED IN THIS REVIEW: PubMed was searched for PAH and treatment. Data from scientific meetings and pharmaceutical websites are also included. There are currently eight FDA approved drugs for PAH that fall into one of three classes: prostacyclins, endothelin-receptor antagonists and PDE-5 inhibitors. All have important limitations and morbidity and mortality remain high. Several new agents with similar mechanisms of action are in clinical development. Multiple novel therapeutic targets are being explored. New applications for PAH therapies, such as pulmonary hypertension due to left heart and lung disease, are also being investigated.

WHAT THE READER WILL GAIN: An understanding of currently available drugs and those in clinical development for pulmonary hypertension.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Drugs targeting the pulmonary vasculature have been an extremely active area of basic and clinical research for the past 20 years and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Considerable progress has been made, and yet there continues to be a great unmet medical need for developing more efficacious therapies.

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