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A review of pulmonary arterial hypertension: role of ambrisentan

Authors Robyn J Barst

Published 15 March 2007 Volume 2007:3(1) Pages 11—22


Robyn J Barst

Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY, USA

Abstract: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare fatal disease. Current disease-specific therapeutic interventions in PAH target 1 of 3 established pathways in disease pathobiology: prostacyclin, nitric oxide, and endothelin-1. Endothelin receptor antagonists (ERAs) act on the endothelin pathway by blocking binding of endothelin-1 to its receptors (endothelin type-A [ETA] and/or type-B [ETB]) on the surface of endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Ambrisentan is an oral, once-daily, ETA-selective ERA in development for the treatment of PAH. In Phase 3 clinical trials in patients with PAH, ambrisentan (2.5–10 mg orally once-daily) improved exercise capacity, Borg dyspnea index, time to clinical worsening, WHO functional class, and quality of life compared with placebo. Ambrisentan provided durable (at least 2 years) improvement in exercise capacity in a Phase 2 long-term extension study. Ambrisentan was well tolerated with a lower incidence and severity of liver function test abnormalities compared with the ETA/ETB ERA, bosentan, and the ETA-selective ERA, sitaxsentan. Ambrisentan does not induce or inhibit P450 enzymes; therefore, ambrisentan is unlikely to affect the pharmacokinetics of P450-metabolized drugs. The demonstration of clinical efficacy, low incidence of acute hepatic toxicity, and low risk of drug–drug interactions support the role of ambrisentan for the treatment of PAH.

Keywords: endothelin receptor antagonist, pulmonary arterial hypertension, endothelin-1, time to clinical worsening, Borg dyspnea index

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