Subcutaneous to intravenous prostacyclin analog transition in pulmonary hypertension

Alkukhun L, Bair ND, Dweik RA, Tonelli AR. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2014 Jan;63(1):4-8. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0000000000000018. PMID: 24084219

Prostacyclin analogs are Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and can be administered by inhalational, intravenous (IV), or subcutaneous (SQ) routes. Because there are limited data to guide the transition between SQ to IV prostacyclin analogs, we describe our experience.

We performed a retrospective review of patients with pulmonary hypertension diagnosed by right heart catheterization, who underwent transition from SQ to IV prostacyclin analogs.

We included 7 patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and 2 with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension in this retrospective study. Median (interquartile range) age was 54 (39-63) years, and 67% were women. The reasons for the SQ to IV switch were site pain (n = 6, 67%), major surgery (n = 2, 22%), and septic shock (n = 1, 11%). SQ treprostinil was converted to IV treprostinil (n = 5, 56%) or IV epoprostenol (n = 4, 44%). When SQ treprostinil was converted to IV treprostinil, the initial mean (range) dose decreased from 84.9 (36.5-167) to 70.8 (24-114) ng·kg⁻¹·min⁻¹. When SQ treprostinil was converted to IV epoprostenol, the dose decreased from 24.5 (17.5-30) to 13.3 (9-20) ng·kg⁻¹·min⁻¹. The patient transitioned from SQ to IV treprostinil in the context of septic shock died a month after hospitalization. No deteriorations were observed in the remaining patients during the first year.

Under careful monitoring, SQ treprostinil was transitioned to IV treprostinil or epoprostenol without complications. Dosing downadjustment was needed in some patients who were switched over from SQ to IV prostacyclin analogs.