SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — United Therapeutics' fourth-quarter earnings nearly doubled with more people getting prescriptions for its cardiopulmonary drugs.

The company earned $83.3 million, or $1.60 per share, in the three months that ended Dec. 31. That compares with earnings of $43.2 million, or 77 cents per share, in the same period last year. Earnings per share totaled $2.42 when subtracting charges like income tax expense and depreciation and amortization.

That easily topped Wall Street expectations of $1.28 per share, according to a poll by FactSet.

Revenue climbed 25 percent to $243.8 million, beating analyst expectations by almost $10 million.

United Therapeutics makes three drugs that treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, or high blood pressure in the lungs. Revenue from its biggest seller, Remodulin, climbed more than 8 percent to $116.2 million. Tyvaso sales rose 33 percent to $86 million, and revenue from Adcirca jumped 69 percent to $38.2 million.

The company also saw selling, general and administrative costs sink 31 percent to $40.1 million in part due to a change in share-based compensation. That was triggered by a 4 percent decline in the company's stock price during last year's fourth quarter compared to a 26 percent appreciation in the final quarter of 2011.

For the full year, United Therapeutics earned $304.4 million, or $5.71 per share, on $916.1 million in revenue.

Shares of United Therapeutics Corp. climbed 76 cents to $58.42 Tuesday before markets opened.

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