Revatio now available in the UK

Patients in the UK suffering from a rare life-threatening heart condition, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), could soon be offered a new treatment.

Drug company Pfizer has launched Revatio for use in patients with this condition which produces abnormal pressure levels in the blood vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs.

Sufferers experience breathlessness, fainting, chest pains and tiredness.

The condition affects about 100,000 people worldwide and is most commonly seen in women between the ages of 20 and 40.

Revatio has the same active ingredient as the anti-impotence drug Viagra.

A clinical trial by the drug company found the drug reduced the blood pressure in the artery and improved the ability of PAH patients to exercise.

The launch of the new treatment follows a series of research findings showing Viagra could be effective for other medical problems in addition to impotence.

Recent research showed Viagra was beneficial in treating the inflammatory bowel disorder Crohn's disease.

Research has also shown that the drug reduces the harmful effect of stress on the heart, and could be used to treat people with hypertrophy (enlarged heart).

Britain is the second major European market to have the product after Germany, where it went on sale in January.

The world's biggest drug maker launched Revatio in the United States last August.

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