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Reducing blood pressure in the lungs

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12:10pm, November 13, 2001

High pressure in the blood vessels supplying the lungs can strain the heart and eventually cause heart failure. People with this condition, called pulmonary hypertension, often tire so easily that they can hardly move. Conventional drugs that lower blood pressure are ineffective in alleviating the lung condition, and the only drug that works requires constant intravenous infusion. A new study suggests that a new drug, bosentan, may offer the first oral therapy for people with pulmonary hypertension.

An international research team gave 21 people with pulmonary hypertension daily doses of bosentan and provided 11 others with a placebo. After 12 weeks, the patients treated with bosentan could walk an average of 230 feet further in 6 minutes than they could at the beginning of the study. In contrast, those people given a placebo walked 20 feet less in 6 minutes than they did at the beginning of the study.

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