Sunday, December 03, 2006

Combination Therapy Eases Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

(HealthDay News) -- A combination therapy of two drugs -- inhaled iloprost and bosentan -- appears to improve the condition of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a debilitating and potentially fatal disease characterized by a progressive narrowing of blood vessels in the lungs.

Dr. Vallerie V. McLaughlin, of the University of Michigan Medical Center, and nine colleagues studied 65 PAH patients who were being treated with bosentan, an endothelin receptor antagonist that helps boost blood flow in the lungs.

Of those patients, 32 were selected to receive inhaled iloprost (a prostacyclin analog) along with bosentan, while the remainder took a placebo and bosentan.

By the end of the 12-week study, all the patients who received the bosentan-iloprost therapy were able to walk 98 feet further during a six-minute walk test, and 11 of them showed improvement in a measurement of how severely they were affected by PAH.

In addition, none of the patients who received the bosentan-iloprost therapy experienced clinical deterioration over the course of the study.

The findings are published in the first issue for December of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Symptoms of PAH, which has no known cause, include shortness of breath following exercise, excessive fatigue, weakness, dizziness and fainting. The symptoms tend to grow worse over time.

More information
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about PAH.

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