What is the role of phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors in the treatment of cor pulmonale?

Updated: Dec 15, 2017
  • Author: Derek Leong, MD; Chief Editor: Henry H Ooi, MD, MRCPI  more...
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The PDE5 inhibitors function by preventing the degradation of cyclic GMP and subsequently prolonging the vasodilatory effect of nitric oxide. Of these, sildenafil has been intensively studied [31, 32, 33] and was approved by the FDA for treatment of pulmonary hypertension. Sildenafil promotes selective smooth muscle relaxation in lung vasculature. [34]  Tadalafil and vardenafil are other PDE5 inhibitors also approved by the FDA for the treatment of PAH to improve exercise ability. [35]

There are not enough data available yet regarding the efficacy of these drugs in patients with secondary pulmonary hypertension, such as in patients with COPD.

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