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Methamphetamine Use Associated With Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Patients With Previously Unknown Risk Factors
Date:3/20/2008

- Pulmonary Hypertension Association Launches National Awareness Campaign

to Raise Awareness of Methamphetamine and PAH Link -

SILVER SPRING, Md., March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA), in conjunction with leading pulmonary hypertension specialists, today announced the launch of an educational campaign to raise awareness of the association between pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and stimulant use, particularly methamphetamine use. While national and regional variances in methamphetamine use exist, one study conducted at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), observed methamphetamine use in approximately 24 percent of patients with previously unknown risk factors for the disease. PAH is a rare, life-threatening blood vessel disorder of the lungs that causes the pressure in the pulmonary artery to rise above normal levels.

"We are seeing more and more PAH patients come into the clinic that are current or former methamphetamine users," said Richard Channick, M.D., professor of clinical medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care Division at UCSD. "There is an urgency to get this message out to drug rehabilitation centers and physicians seeing patients with a history of substance abuse, and make sure they are aware of this association and of the symptoms of PAH. PAH is often misdiagnosed because the symptoms are similar to those seen with asthma and other respiratory conditions."

"Over the past few years, our physicians have made significant progress toward improving the lives of patients with PAH through earlier diagnosis, increased disease recognition, and continued development of effective therapies," said Rino Aldrighetti, president of the PHA. "However, we need to increase awareness among physicians, drug rehabilitation centers, and the general public about this association between methamphetamine usage and the development of PAH so that patients can receive proper treatment as early as
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SOURCE Pulmonary Hypertension Association
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