Four years ago, Sarah Ing started having trouble breathing. Everyday activities became exhausting for her.
"Anything that involved leaving the house would become a Herculean task because it took a lot of energy," she said.
A few months later, Ing was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, or PAH. PAH causes high blood pressure in the lungs and can lead to heart failure and even death. Treatment options are limited.
Most consist of intravenous infusions straight into the heart or a lung transplant. A new medication, Tracleer, may be an easier option for some patients. A recent study in the
New England Journal of Medicine
finds it is the first effective oral medicine for PAH.
"Tracleer markedly improves how far people can walk and also improves how they feel which, may in the end, be the most important factor in treating this disease," pulmonologist Dr. Richard Channick said.
It may also slow the progression of PAH. Ing has been taking Tracleer for six months. She already notices a difference.
"I've had more energy, more gusto. I can get out of bed and face the day with a sense that I can accomplish what I need to," Ing said.
Since the medication can affect the liver, patients must have regular liver testing.
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