Lupus Site

     Site Updates      Lupus News      Contact       

Potential New Treatment for Lupus-Related Pulmonary Hypertension


An investigational new drug for pulmonary hypertension may improve the quality of life for thousands of patients with lupus, scleroderma, and other associated connective tissue diseases, according to research presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Lupus, scleroderma and related connective tissue diseases are chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases that can damage the blood vessels of the lung and other organs. Pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the lungs, occurs occasionally in people with lupus. If severe, this condition can be life-threatening, and there tends to be little chance for improvement. Patients with pulmonary hypertension have elevated levels of endothelin, a powerful blood vessel constrictor, in their plasma and lung tissue.

Researchers conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of sitaxsentan, a once-daily oral endothelin receptor antagonist which blocks the action of endothelin on blood vessels to determine whether it could improve the ability of pulmonary hypertension patients to exercise without difficulty. This 12-week trial involved 178 patients with pulmonary hypertension, 42 of whom had pulmonary hypertension related to a connective tissue disease. Patients received either 100mg or 300 mg of sitaxsentan, or placebo, for 12 weeks. All patients participated in the 6-minute walk test, the standard test for treatments for pulmonary hypertension that measures how far an individual can walk in six minutes, before the treatment began and again at the end of the 12-week trial. Researchers found that patients with pulmonary hypertension related to connective tissue disease who were taking either the 100mg or 300mg dosage significantly improved their walking distance as compared to those taking placebo (whose time actually worsened).

"Sitaxsentan was shown to significantly improve six-minute walk distance, as well as hemodynamics such as cardiac index and pulmonary vascular resistance for patients with pulmonary hypertension related to connective tissue disease," said lead investigator Vallerie McLaughlin, MD, University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor, Michigan. "The first therapy shown to improve key efficacy variables in this population was epoprostenol, a prostacyclin therapy that requires a central catheter and continuous intravenous infusion that is often difficult for patients to tolerate. Thus, the ability of an oral, once daily therapy such as sitaxsentan sodium to improve key efficacy variables represents an important treatment advance."

Source: American College of Rheumatology


Recommend this site to your friends

Visit our Message Boards

< Previous - Refresh - Next >

Read our privacy policy - Advertise - Sitemap

© Copyright The Lupus Site 1997-2008
None of my material can be used on any other site, or in any other form, without prior permission from the author.
However feel free to link to my site from yours.
The Lupus Site is affiliated with Lupus UK through the Lancashire & Cheshire Regional Group.
The information on this page is only for general advice.  No responsibility can be taken for anything that happens as a result of following or ignoring advice on this site.