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The Pharmacologic Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension

Rationale for Pharmacologic Treatment

If pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) has an identifiable cause, then measures can be taken to resolve the underlying problem. If the diagnosis is primary PAH, or treating the cause of the secondary PAH does not restore normal pulmonary artery pressure, then pharmacologic intervention is required to reduce the pressure. This is done by using vasodilator drugs to decrease pulmonary vascular resistance and lower the pressure. Adjunctive therapy may include diuretics to reduce blood volume, which decreases central venous pressure and right ventricular stroke volume, as well as reduce some signs and symptoms of edema and shortness of breath associated with PAH. Anticoagulants are administered to prevent the formation of pulmonary thrombi.

Drugs Used to Treat Pulmonary Hypertension

Classes of drugs used in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) are listed below.  Clicking on the drug class will link you to the page describing the pharmacology of that drug class.

Revised 11/30/2023

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