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Targeted drugs for pulmonary arterial hypertension: a network meta-analysis of 32 randomized clinical trials

Authors Gao XF, Zhang JJ, Jiang XM, Ge Z, Wang ZM, Li B, Mao WX, Chen SL

Received 26 January 2017

Accepted for publication 31 March 2017

Published 8 May 2017 Volume 2017:11 Pages 871—885


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Naifeng Liu

Xiao-Fei Gao,1 Jun-Jie Zhang,1,2 Xiao-Min Jiang,1 Zhen Ge,1,2 Zhi-Mei Wang,1 Bing Li,1 Wen-Xing Mao,1 Shao-Liang Chen1,2

1Department of Cardiology, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, 2Department of Cardiology, Nanjing Heart Center, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China

Background: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a devastating disease and ultimately leads to right heart failure and premature death. A total of four classical targeted drugs, prostanoids, endothelin receptor antagonists (ERAs), phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (PDE-5Is), and soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator (sGCS), have been proved to improve exercise capacity and hemodynamics compared to placebo; however, direct head-to-head comparisons of these drugs are lacking. This network meta-analysis was conducted to comprehensively compare the efficacy of these targeted drugs for PAH.
Methods: Medline, the Cochrane Library, and other Internet sources were searched for randomized clinical trials exploring the efficacy of targeted drugs for patients with PAH. The primary effective end point of this network meta-analysis was a 6-minute walk distance (6MWD).
Results: Thirty-two eligible trials including 6,758 patients were identified. There was a statistically significant improvement in 6MWD, mean pulmonary arterial pressure, pulmonary vascular resistance, and clinical worsening events associated with each of the four targeted drugs compared with placebo. Combination therapy improved 6MWD by 20.94 m (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.94, 34.94; P=0.003) vs prostanoids, and 16.94 m (95% CI: 4.41, 29.47; P=0.008) vs ERAs. PDE-5Is improved 6MWD by 17.28 m (95% CI: 1.91, 32.65; P=0.028) vs prostanoids, with a similar result with combination therapy. In addition, combination therapy reduced mean pulmonary artery pressure by 3.97 mmHg (95% CI: -6.06, -1.88; P<0.001) vs prostanoids, 8.24 mmHg (95% CI: -10.71, -5.76; P<0.001) vs ERAs, 3.38 mmHg (95% CI: -6.30, -0.47; P=0.023) vs PDE-5Is, and 3.94 mmHg (95% CI: -6.99, -0.88; P=0.012) vs sGCS. There were no significant differences in all-cause mortality and severe adverse events between prostanoids, ERAs, PDE-5Is, sGCS, combination therapy, and placebo.
Conclusion: All targeted drugs for PAH are associated with improved clinical outcomes, especially combination therapy. However, all these drugs seem to show less favorable effects on survival in the short-term follow-up, suggesting further clinical trials are required.

Keywords: pulmonary arterial hypertension, targeted drugs, 6-minute walk distance, prostanoids, network meta-analysis

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