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Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors in the treatment and prevention of high altitude pulmonary edema

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matt Bates


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The combination of a tendency to affect otherwise fit and healthy individuals, and a characteristically rapid progression to death within hours of the first symptoms, renders high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) a particularly devastating illness in travelers to high altitudes. The alveolar edema and ventilation: perfusion mismatch initiate a catastrophic downward spiral of worsening alveolar hypoxia. This review discusses the rationale for the use of phosphodiesterase (PDE)5 inhibitors in HAPE, compares the pharmacokinetic properties of the available agents, and appraises the relevant experimental evidence. Although this class of drugs shows promise in high altitude medicine, further research is necessary to determine the efficacy and safety of PDE5 inhibitors as a treatment for established HAPE.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bates MGD, Thompson AAR, Baillie JK

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Opinion in Investigational Drugs

Year: 2007

Volume: 8

Issue: 3

Pages: 226-231

ISSN (print): 1354-3784

ISSN (electronic): 1744-7658