To improve your symptoms and quality of life, while slowing down the progression of PAH, your doctor may prescribe one of many medications that are available for this condition. In some cases, when medication doesn’t work, your doctor may suggest transplant surgery.
All medications for PAH aim to reduce heart strain by easing the flow of blood through the pulmonary arteries. These medications can include:
- Endothelin receptor antagonists, for blocking the effects of a substance that narrows the blood vessels in the lung
- Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors and related compounds, for helping relax the lung blood vessels and prevent the abnormal growth of cells within them
- Prostacyclins, for helping relax the lung blood vessels and potentially prevent blood clots
- Diuretics, for reducing strain on the heart by decreasing the amount of blood it must pump
- Anticoagulants, for preventing blood clots from forming in the lungs
- Calcium channel blockers, for easing narrowing in the pulmonary arteries
- Digoxin, for improving the heart's ability to pump blood
- Supplemental oxygen, for correcting low blood oxygen levels
Patients who do not respond to medication are sometimes candidates for lung or heart-lung transplantation.