Selexipag for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension

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PurposeThe pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, clinical efficacy, safety and tolerability, dosing and administration, and place in therapy of selexipag, an orally administered selective prostacyclin receptor agonist for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), are reviewed.SummaryThe first-in-class oral prostacyclin IP receptor agonist selexipag (Uptravi, Actelion Pharmaceuticals) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December 2015. Selexipag is rapidly hydrolyzed to a long-acting metabolite that binds with high selectivity to IP receptors, resulting in vasodilation, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and antiinflammatory effects. Results of a long-term, placebo-controlled, clinical outcomes–driven trial showed that selexipag significantly reduced the occurrence of the composite primary outcome (all-cause mortality and development of PAH-related complications). Selexipag is indicated for use in patients with World Health Organization functional class (FC) II or III disease. The recommended initial selexipag dosage is 200 μg twice daily. Like prostanoid analogs, selexipag has a dose-dependent adverse-effect profile that includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and musculoskeletal pain. Although selexipag offers distinct pharmacologic advantages over other agents for the treatment of PAH, important issues of cost and access must be considered.ConclusionSelexipag is an oral prostacyclin IP receptor agonist approved for use as monotherapy or in combination with other therapies to slow PAH progression and reduce the risk of hospitalization in patients with FC II or III symptoms. Its stability and relatively long half-life offer conveniences over conventional prostanoid therapies.

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