Clinical trial design and new therapies for pulmonary arterial hypertension

Eur Respir J. 2019 Jan 24;53(1):1801908. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01908-2018. Print 2019 Jan.


Until 20 years ago the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) was based on case reports and small series, and was largely ineffectual. As a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of PAH evolved over the subsequent two decades, coupled with epidemiological studies defining the clinical and demographic characteristics of the condition, a renewed interest in treatment development emerged through collaborations between international experts, industry and regulatory agencies. These efforts led to the performance of robust, high-quality clinical trials of novel therapies that targeted putative pathogenic pathways, leading to the approval of more than 10 novel therapies that have beneficially impacted both the quality and duration of life. However, our understanding of PAH remains incomplete and there is no cure. Accordingly, efforts are now focused on identifying novel pathogenic pathways that may be targeted, and applying more rigorous clinical trial designs to better define the efficacy of these new potential treatments and their role in the management scheme. This article, prepared by a Task Force comprised of expert clinicians, trialists and regulators, summarises the current state of the art, and provides insight into the opportunities and challenges for identifying and assessing the efficacy and safety of new treatments for this challenging condition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / economics
  • Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension / therapy*
  • Research Design