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Circulation. 2001 Sep 11;104(11):1218-22.

Effect of inhaled iloprost plus oral sildenafil in patients with primary pulmonary hypertension.

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Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik, Innere Medizin V, Innere Medizin III, Homburg/Saar, Germany.



The application of iloprost, a stable prostacyclin analogue, by inhalation has been shown to improve hemodynamic variables in patients with primary pulmonary hypertension. However, repetitive inhalations are required due to its short-term effects. One potential approach to prolong and increase the vasorelaxant effects of aerosolized iloprost might be to combine use with phosphodiesterase inhibitors.


The short-term effects of 8.4 to 10.5 microgram of aerosolized iloprost, the phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor sildenafil, and the combination thereof were compared in 5 patients with primary pulmonary hypertension. Aerosolized iloprost resulted in a more pronounced decrease in mean pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) than sildenafil alone (9.4+/-1.3 versus 6.4+/-1.1 mm Hg; P<0.05). The reduction in mean PAP after sildenafil was maximal after the first dose (25 mg). The combination of sildenafil plus iloprost lowered mean PAP significantly more than iloprost alone (13.8+/-1.4 versus 9.4+/-1.3 mm Hg; P<0.009). No significant changes in heart rate or systemic arterial pressure were observed during any treatment. The treatments were well tolerated, without major adverse effects.


Sildenafil caused a long-lasting reduction in mean PAP and pulmonary vascular resistance, with a further additional improvement after iloprost inhalation. These data suggest that small doses of a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor may be a useful adjunct to inhaled iloprost in the management of pulmonary hypertension.

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