Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a form of high blood pressure affecting the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. The disease is characterized by increased blood pressure caused by constriction of lungs’ blood vessels. This leads to shortness of breath and dizziness, and can ultimately cause heart failure. It gets progressively worse and can sometimes be fatal.
But now, a treatment hailed as a new approach to treating PAH will soon be available worldwide.
The drug, Uptravi (selexipag) has been approved for use in the United States (approval date: 12/21/15), Canada (01/20/16), New Zealand (03/17/16), and Australia (03/18/16). Now it has cleared a hurdle for upcoming approval in Europe.
Indicated for the treatment of:
- idiopathic PAH
- heritable PAH
- PAH associated with connective tissue disease
- PAH associated with congenital heart disease with repaired shunts
- PAH associated with drugs and toxins (In patients with WHO functional class II, III or IV symptoms, selexipag relaxes muscles in the walls of constricted blood vessels to help them re-open. It also works to reduce blood clotting and inflammation.)
Selexipag is the first therapeutic that selectively targets the prostacyclin receptor (IP-receptor).
Science and innovation introduced this world of possibilities. Source: www.pixabay.comThe drug’s long-term efficacy and safety was tested in the Phase III GRIPHON study, with 1,156 patients affected by pulmonary arterial hypertension. It was the largest study to date addressing PAH, and it showed that selexipag reduced the onset of disease and PAH-related death events by 39% when compared to placebo control patients during the 4-year trial period; it helped reduce hospitalization for PAH and decreased the risks of disease progression.
The most commonly reported side effects were headache, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, jaw pain, myalgia, pain in extremity, arthralgia, and flushing.
According to the annual report of its developer, Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Actelion, by the end of March 2016, approximately 650 patients were using the new treatment.
Have you tried this new Uptravi? Share your thoughts about it!