The New York Times has recently published an article about the halting of a drug trial intended to investigate the effectiveness of Viagra in treating primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) in patients with sickle cell disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) were the ones who pulled the plug on this drug trial for pulmonary hypertension.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has announced that the drug trial was looking at the safety and effectiveness of using the drug Sildenafil to treat pulmonary hypertension specifically in patients who also suffer from sickle cell disease. Sildenafil is sold by the drug company Pfizer under the brand names of Revatio and Viagra.

Reasons for Cesation of Drug Trial
NIH decided to stop the drug trial upon discovering some ill effects of the drug among patients with sickle cell disease. The complications that are associated with the drug were not made clear in the article, however, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute did release this statement: “No deaths have been associated with the drug in the clinical trial.” The director of the institute has advised that patients who do suffer from both pulmonary hypertension and sickle cell and who are also taking sildenafil for pulmonary hypertension to talk with their doctors about the potential risks.

Future Direction for Pulmonary Hypertension Drug Testing
One thing to remember is that this drug trial was focused on patients who suffer from pulmonary hypertension and sickle cell. Sildenafil has already been approved for patients who suffer from pulmonary hypertension and not sickle cell. This drug treats PPH by relaxing the blood vessels in the longs to allow blood to flow more easily and has been released under the brand name Revatio. Patients without sickle cell disease have not shown the complications that have become evident in the drug trial.