Lung Disease Rx Gets Green Light

Uptravi (selexipag) tablets approved to treat adults with pulmonary arterial hypertension

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Patients with a debilitating, rare lung disease just got a new treatment option.

That option, courtesy of an approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is Uptravi (selexipag). This new drug was approved to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.

“Uptravi offers an additional treatment option for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension,” said Ellis Unger, MD, director of the FDA's Office of Drug Evaluation I, in a press release. “The FDA supports continued efforts to provide new treatment options for rare diseases.”

Uptravi is an oral IP prostacyclin receptor agonist, which means it reduces blood pressure in the vessels that give blood to the lungs by relaxing the surrounding muscles. Pulmonary arterial hypertension causes high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood from the heart to the lungs. The disease can limit patients' ability to exercise and breathe comfortably. It can be deadly.

The FDA approved Uptravi after the Actelion Pharmaceuticals drug appeared safe and effective in a study of more than 1,100 patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Compared to a fake pill (placebo), Uptravi appeared to reduce hospitalization and disease progression.

Still, the drug did have some side effects. Those included nausea, vomiting, headache, jaw and muscle pain and diarrhea, among other problems.

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Review Date: 
December 23, 2015
Last Updated:
December 23, 2015