Riociguat for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension
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Nitric oxide (NO) is a critical signaling molecule in the pulmonary vasculature. NO activates soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) resulting in the synthesis of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) - a key mediator of pulmonary artery vasodilatation that may also inhibit smooth muscle proliferation and platelet aggregation. Pulmonary hypertension, a serious, progressive and often fatal disease is characterized by NO-sGC-sGMP pathway dysregulation. Riociguat is a member of a novel therapeutic class known as soluble guanylate stimulators. Riociguat has a dual mode of action, acting in synergy with endogenous NO and also directly stimulating sGC independently of NO availability. Phase 3 randomized control trials have demonstrated that riociguat improves clinical, physiologic and hemodynamic parameters in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension. In this review we will discuss the pharmacologic properties of riociguat and its appropriate implementation into clinical practice.
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