K30 -- July 2010 -- E.D. Drugs for Pulmonary Hypertension
Intro: Viagra and Cialis are two erectile dysfunction drugs proven to work. Now, researchers have reformulated those medications to treat another disease & pulmonary hypertension. The interesting twist here is that most patients with pulmonary hypertension are women.
"Are we going to look for shark's teeth?"
A day to dig for treasures with 6-year-old Ethan. It's something Lyn Repsher thought could never happen when she heard the diagnosis eleven years ago.
"You're looking at your future and you're thinking you're going to have a family and suddenly you're diagnosed with something that's going to change you're perspective on all that."
Lyn has pulmonary hypertension — a potentially deadly disease. For years she dealt with treatment that involved 24-hour-a-day IV delivery of medicine through a pump she had to carry around with her. But now, thanks to drugs originally marketed for erectile dysfunction, she's through with all that.
"One of the drugs that was reformulated for pulmonary hypertension was Viagra."
Dr. Charles Burgers says another one is Cialis. You see, pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in your lungs. It happens when the tiny arteries that carry blood to your lungs become narrow. Your heart has to pump harder to push the blood through, causing pressure to rise. The increased workload can lead to heart failure. It's like a kink in a water hose. The E.D. drugs lower pressure in the lungs by opening up the narrowed arteries, restoring blood flow and reducing the workload of your heart.
"So if you can lower that pressure it's analogous to taking the kink out of the water hose and allowing flow through the hose rather than just turning up the pressure at the spigot."
And because doses of E.D. medications most patients like Lyn take are much lower than those used for erectile dysfunction, there are few — shall we say — unwanted side effects.
"No! Ha ha ha ha ha ha …"
In addition to the E.D drugs, Lyn also takes another medication which is administered under her skin through a tiny tube. These therapies have freed her from the hassles of high maintenance treatment and the symptoms of disease.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Some of the symptoms Lyn had before included shortness of breath and fatigue. For more information about pulmonary hypertension, visit our website at …
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