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New UAlberta research shows commonly prescribed medications could have adverse effects
Date:1/17/2013

may be beneficial for hearts impacted by PAH, since endothelin is known to increase the strength of contraction of the heart muscle. In other words, as the right ventricle has to work harder pushing blood through the narrowed blood vessels, endothelin may help it function better, but this may be blocked by ERAs. The research team also showed that, as expected, ERAs decrease the strength of contraction of the diseased right ventricles.

"These new findingsthat ERAs have direct effects on the right chambers of the hearthave important implications for treated patients" said Nagendran. "For example, PAH patients treated with ERAs can develop fluid retention (swelling), which is currently treated with diuretics. As fluid retention can be a result of decreased right ventricle function, the new findings suggest that this could be a previously unrecognized important adverse effect of these drugs."

In other words, while ERAs may have a beneficial effect on the lung blood vessels, they may also have unwanted effects on the heart.

"While this does not mean that PAH patients should stop using these drugs, this new research sheds more light on the overall mechanism of action of these drugs in PAH patients," said Michelakis. "It may also help physicians to better approach the treatment of PAH patients and design clinical studies to validate these new findings in large populations."

PAH tends to mostly affect younger women, although both sexes of all ages can be affected. The survival of PAH patients is similar to that of patients with metastatic breast cancer, but the yearly cost of treatment can be more than double compared to that of metastatic breast cancer, and can exceed $200,000 per patient.


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Contact: Quinn Phillips
quinn.phillips@ualberta.ca
780-399-7505
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

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