, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 533-551

Future Pharmacologic Agents for Treatment of Heart Failure in Children

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The addition of new agents to the armamentarium of treatment options for heart failure in pediatric patients is exciting and challenging. Administration of these therapies to pediatric patients will require careful scrutiny of the data and skilled application. Developmental changes in drug metabolism, excretion, and distribution are concerning in pediatric patients, and inappropriate evaluation of these parameters can have disastrous results. Manipulation of the neurohormonal pathways in heart failure has been the target of most recently developed pharmacologic agents. Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), aldosterone antagonists, beta-blockers, and natriuretic peptides are seeing increased use in pediatrics. In particular, calcium sensitizing agents represent a new frontier in the treatment of acute decompensated heart failure and may replace traditional inotropic therapies. Endothelin receptor antagonists have shown benefit in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension, but their use in heart failure is still debatable. Vasopressin antagonists, tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, and neutral endopeptidase inhibitors are also targeting aspects of the neurohormonal cascade that are currently not completely understood. The future of pharmacologic therapies will include pharmacogenomic studies on new and preexisting therapies for pediatric heart failure. The education and skill of the practitioner when applying these agents in pediatric heart failure is of utmost importance.