Pune Hospital study shows oral sildenafil more effective than injection for pulmonary hypertension in children

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Pune: A study conducted by Bharati Hospital in Pune and published in the international scientific journal BMC shows that the oral drug sildenafil is as effective as sildenafil IV (injection) and has fewer side effects. The drug is primarily used to treat hypertension in newborn babies and costs 500 times less than its injection alternative. Doctors said five to six babies out of every 1,000 reported deaths in the country are due to pulmonary hypertension.

In a newborn, high pressure in the pulmonary vessels is a serious condition. As part of the treatment, intravenous sildenafil is used, which costs about 2,000 to 10,000 per day and the price of its oral alternative is around 20 per day.

Dr Pradeep Suryavanshi, Corresponding Author, Professor and Head of Department of Neonatology, Bharati Vidyapeeth University Medical College Pune, said, “About 5-10 doses of IV sildenafil are required depending on the weight of the baby. We found in our study that both doses (injectable and oral) are equally effective and that there are more side effects for IV compared to oral, which includes hypotension.

An open label randomized trial was conducted in a neonatal intensive care unit of an urban tertiary hospital in western India between February 2019 and December 2020. Approximately 40 infants born after 34 weeks gestation with pulmonary arterial pressure ( PAP) greater than 25 mm Hg measured by echocardiography, within 72 hours of birth, were recruited for the study. Dr. Suryavanshi said that pulmonary hypertension in newborns constricts blood flow from the heart to the lungs. Medications help release pressure and the side effect could be hypotension which reduces pressure flow.

Causes of pulmonary hypertension include asphyxia, sepsis, or pulmonary pneumonia. BioMed Central (BMC) is a UK-based for-profit open access scientific publisher that produces over 250 scientific journals online. Founded in 2000, it has belonged to Springer Nature since 2008.

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