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Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors in management of pulmonary hypertension: Safety, tolerability, and efficacy

Authors Buckley M, Robin Staib, Wicks L, Feldman JP

Published 20 September 2010 Volume 2010:2 Pages 151—161

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DHPS.S6215

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Mitchell S Buckley1, Robin L Staib1, Laura M Wicks1, Jeremy P Feldman2
1Department of Pharmacy, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, and 2Arizona Pulmonary Specialists Ltd, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Abstract: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease that causes severe disability and has no cure. Over the past 20 years, a variety of treatment options have evolved for the management of PAH. With an expanded therapeutic armamentarium come more complex decisions regarding treatment options. Agent selection depends upon several factors including efficacy, side effect profile, and cost, as well as convenience of administration. We have undertaken a review of phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors in PAH with a focus on efficacy and safety. A literature search was conducted using the Medline and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases (1966–February 2010) for relevant randomized clinical studies. Overall, 10 studies met our inclusion criteria. Sildenafil was the most commonly studied agent, followed by tadalafil and vardenafil. Most trials found that the PDE-5 inhibitors significantly improved exercise capacity and lowered pulmonary pressures. However, there were conflicting results regarding these agents’ impact on improving cardiac function and functional class. Overall, these medications were effective and well tolerated with a relatively benign side effect profile. The PDE-5 inhibitors are an important option in treating PAH. While most of the published clinical data involved sildenafil, the other PDE-5 inhibitors show promise as well. Further studies are needed to determine the optimal doses of this therapeutic drug class, as well as its effects as adjunctive therapy with other agents in PAH.

Keywords: sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil, pulmonary hypertension

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