Pulmonary arteries are the veins that supply blood to the lungs. It is also the ones affected when a person has pulmonary hypertension. While there are no cure for this condition, doctors can provide agents for pulmonary hypertension to help slow down the progress of the disease.
In most cases, it will take some time to find the most appropriate treatment as they are complex and require extensive care. Your doctor may also change your treatment if it is not effective anymore. On the other hand, if your pulmonary hypertension is caused by an underlying condition, they will treat this condition whenever possible.
These medications open up blood vessels which have narrowed. It comes in various forms such as IV injection, inhalant and for oral administration. The most common vasodilator for this condition is Epoprostenol. It is given through injection to an intravenous catheter which patients wear in the belt or the shoulder. The effect lasts for only a few minutes and there are potential side effects such as jaw pain and nausea.
Additionally, the Iloprost can also be inhaled using a nebulizer from six to nine times a day. The medicine goes directly to the lungs, but it also has side effects like chest pain, nausea and headache.
Another form of vasodilator, the Treprostinil can be administered through inhalation, taken orally or through injection. Side effects of this drug also include nausea, diarrhea and headache.
This type of medication for pulmonary hypertension works by reversing the effects of the endothelin. It can improve energy levels and reduce symptoms. But it is not recommended for pregnant women. It may also lead to liver damage if used on the long-term.
Endothelin receptor antagonist medication includes macitentan, bostentan and ambrisentan.
Tadalafil and Sildenafil medications are sometimes prescribed to address pulmonary hypertension. Tadalafil works by opening the lung arteries so that blood can flow normally. Its side effects include headache and upset stomach.
Similar to vasoconstrictors, these drugs relaxes the muscles surrounding the blood vessels to stop them from constricting. Some examples of these sidenafil drugs include Diltiazem, Nifedipine and Amlodipine. It is a very effective medication but only a small percentage of patients respond to it.
Another agent for pulmonary hypertension is anticoagulants warfarin. It may be prescribed to prevent blood clots in the small arteries in the lungs. These drugs must be taken as prescribed otherwise, patients may experience harmful side effects. And since it prevents normal blood clotting, it may increase the risk for bleeding complications. Likewise, other drugs and supplements may interact with this kind of medications, thus be sure to inform your doctor about other medications that you are using.
These drugs are some of the most common agents for pulmonary hypertension that doctors prescribe. They may also give patients diuretics and suggest having pure oxygen therapy. If the condition is no longer manageable with medications, doctors may pursue surgeries such as transplantation and atrial septostomy.