Article Title

Prostacyclin for pulmonary hypertension in adults


Prostacyclin may benefit patients with pulmonary hypertension (raised blood pressure in the lungs) in the short term but studies longer in duration are required. Pulmonary hypertension occurs when blood is pumped through arteries in the lungs at an increased pressure. The condition can lead to heart failure and death. Once the diagnosis is made, life expectancy ranges from a few months to a few years. Most current treatments apart from lung transplantation do not improve survival. Over an 8-12 week period prostacyclin improved exercise capacity and some measures of blood flow when given intravenously or via injection to patients with pulmonary hypertension. However, with intravenous administration there can be serious side effects as the drug has to be given continuously via a pump into a catheter placed into a central vein. It is not clear how long the drug continues to confer benefit without serious side effects. Prostacyclin can also be given by mouth, under the skin or through an inhaler. These forms of administration may be safer than intravenous prostacyclin and there is evidence that these may be effective in the short term.



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