Pulmonary Hypertension Medicines

Medicines for pulmonary hypertension (PH) include tablets or capsules taken by mouth, continuous infusions given subcutaneously or intravenously (IV), and inhalations via nebulizer. It is very important that you do not run out of these medicines and do not miss any of your doses. Also, make sure all your doctors know you are on these medicines. Sometimes these medicines require special monitoring, interact with other medicines, or require advanced planning prior to procedures, tests, or imaging.

Treatment options

Once you’re diagnosed with PAH, you’ll work closely with your doctor to make a treatment plan that is made just for you. The plan will include taking medications on a regular basis.

There are several types of medications used to treat PAH.

  • What medicines are used to treat PH?

    Your PH doctor will determine which medicine(s) is best to treat your PH. Some of the medicines that may be used to treat PH are listed below. For more information about each medicine, click on the medicine name. This will take you to information from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA).  

    To learn more about the treatment for PH, visit the PHA website.

  • What do I need to know before leaving my doctor’s office or hospital?
    • The name and phone number of the pharmacy where your pulmonary hypertension medicine will be filled. It may be supplied from your local pharmacy or a specialty pharmacy. 
    • If you need to pick up the medicine or if it will be delivered directly to your home
    • How to take your medicine if it is a tablet or capsule
    • If you will use a PH medicine that is given by an infusion, you and your caregiver will need to know how to prepare the medicine and program the infusion pump 
    • If you use a PH medicine which is inhaled, you and your caregiver will need to know how to prepare the medicine and use the inhalation device
    • You need to know how and when to obtain refills for your PH medicine 
    • You need to understand what to do in case of an emergency and who you should call
  • What do I need to know if I just started a new PH medicine in the hospital?
    • The name and phone number of the pharmacy where your pulmonary hypertension medicine will be filled. It may be supplied from your local pharmacy or a specialty pharmacy.
    • It is important to take this medicine as prescribed and not miss any doses. Before you leave the hospital, make sure you know how you will obtain your new PH medicine. Some of these medicines are delivered directly to your home.  This may require a family member or friend to be there so they can accept the PH medicine.
    • The specialty pharmacy may contact you or your caregiver directly so they can coordinate delivery of the PH medicine to your home before you are discharged from the hospital.
    • If you are on oral PH medicine, know when to take your first dose after you get home.
    • If you are on an infusion medicine for PH, know when you should change your cassette or syringe in your pump.
    • Be sure to talk to your PH doctor about emergency situations before they happen so you know when to call and who you should call
  • What should I do in emergency situations or when I think I am having an emergency?

    When to call 911

    • If you are on a medicine by infusion and your catheter comes out or cracks
    • If you are on a medicine by infusion and your pump stops working 
    • Any other situation as identified by your PH doctor
    • Any life-threatening situation

    When to go to the emergency room

    • Increasing shortness of breath
    • Swelling
    • Feeling light headed
    • If you have passed out
    • High or prolonged fever, especially if you have a central line catheter
    • Coughing up blood or colored mucus
    • Chest pain
    • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

    Contact your PH doctor if you are going to the hospital or if you are not sure if you should go to the hospital

  • What do I have to know if I have to go to the Emergency Room?

    How to choose an ER

    • For emergencies that are life threatening, call 911 or go to the nearest ER
    • When possible, go to the ER of the hospital where your PH doctor works
    • If the hospital where your PH doctor works is not close to you, ask your PH doctor where the nearest ER is that you should go to in an emergency

    What to tell the ER doctor

    • All of your current medicines, including the name of the medicine, how much you take, and how often you take it
    • If you have missed any doses of medicine or are due for a dose of medicine
    • If you are on a PH medicine by infusion, tell the ER doctor what it is, what pump you use and when you are due to change the cassette or syringe

    If you are a Henry Ford Health System Patient and use a PH medicine by injection, it is important that you come to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. If you or your caregiver have to call 911, make sure that EMS knows to take you to HFH in Detroit. This is something your doctor should tell you when you begin the PH medicine by infusion.

    Bring your PH medicine with you to the ER, hospital, and doctor appointments. If you use a medicine by infusion, bring your back up cassette with you. 

  • When should I contact my PH Doctor?
    • If you are not sure if you are experiencing an emergency situation
    • If you lose your insurance or if your insurance changes
    • If you are having difficulty affording the co-payments on your PH medicines
     
  • How can I learn more about PH?