Purpose of review: Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug originally developed for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. At present, the epidemic rise of illicit methamphetamine use has increased the number of patients living with medical complications. Our group has recently identified a definite association between methamphetamine use and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a life-threatening disease characterized by occlusive vasculopathy and progressive right heart failure. This review will discuss the evidence that links methamphetamine with PAH and how to approach the diagnosis and management of methamphetamine-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension (Meth-APAH) patients in clinic.
Recent findings: Compared with idiopathic (I) PAH, Meth-APAH patients present with worse functional status, right ventricular dysfunction, and exercise tolerance. Despite therapy, the 5-year survival of Meth-APAH patients is significantly lower compared with IPAH. Genetic studies suggest that loss of function variants in genes involved in drug detoxification can increase susceptibility for methamphetamine-related vascular injury and trigger occlusive vasculopathy.
Summary: PAH patients undergoing diagnostic evaluation should be screened for a history of current or past methamphetamine use. Pharmacovigilance should be implemented to monitor patients being treated with methamphetamine for neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). More studies will be needed to identify which susceptibility factors increase risk of PAH in methamphetamine users.