Medical therapy of pulmonary hypertension. The prostacyclins

Clin Chest Med. 2001 Sep;22(3):529-37, x. doi: 10.1016/s0272-5231(05)70289-6.


Prostacyclin is a substance produced by endothelial cells that induces vasodilation and inhibition of platelet aggregation and of vascular cell migration and proliferation. A dysregulation of the prostacyclin metabolic pathways has been shown in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The clinical use of prostacyclin has been made possible by the synthesis of stable analogues that possesses different pharmacokinetic properties but share similar pharmacodynamic effects. The greatest experience has been collected with intravenous epoprostenol while other compounds like subcutaneous UT-15, inhaled iloprost and oral beraprost are currently in different stages of clinical development. Although favorable results have been reported for each compound, different benefit-to-side effects profiles characterize the various modalities of the administration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Epoprostenol / administration & dosage
  • Epoprostenol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Epoprostenol / pharmacology
  • Epoprostenol / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Iloprost / therapeutic use
  • Vasodilation / drug effects
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • beraprost
  • Epoprostenol
  • Iloprost
  • treprostinil