What is pulmonary arterial hypertension?
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs (called pulmonary arteries). Pulmonary arteries carry blood from the heart into the lungs, where it picks up oxygen for delivery to the rest of the body.
The effects of PAH can make it difficult to perform certain daily activities, such as walking.
People with PAH may experience
- Dizziness and/or fainting (syncope)
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Chest pain (angina)
- Feeling tired or worn out (fatigue)
- Swollen ankles and legs (edema)
- Swollen abdomen
- Rapid, hard, or irregular heartbeats (palpitations)
PAH is a progressive disease
PAH worsens over time and can lead to serious complications. The physical symptoms you experience may not always reflect whether PAH is progressing or how it is affecting your heart. If you believe you have PAH, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider as early as possible so it can be determined if you have PAH and whether or not you need to begin treatment.
Your healthcare provider may perform some tests to initially diagnose your PAH
Tracks how far you can walk in 6 minutes.
Uses sound waves to see how well your heart is beating and pumping blood.
Measure how well your lungs work.
Shows if your pulmonary arteries and right ventricle are enlarged.
Measures breathing and circulation in all areas of your lungs.
Rule out other diseases that may be causing your symptoms.
If PAH is suspected, a right heart catheterization may be performed to confirm the diagnosis
Right heart catheterization measures the pressure in your pulmonary arteries and shows how well your heart is pumping blood to the rest of your body.
Prostacyclin-class therapies are an FDA-approved treatment for PAH
In a person with PAH, the body produces low levels of prostacyclin. Prostacyclin is a natural substance that helps keep arteries in the lungs open and working properly. When the body does not produce enough prostacyclin, the pulmonary arteries become narrow. This causes the heart to have to work harder to do its job.
Prostacyclin-class therapies mimic the effects of the natural prostacyclin found in the body. Treatment with prostacyclin-class therapies may make it easier for your heart to pump blood through your lungs. This can help improve your ability to exercise.
Experts have supported the use of prostacyclin-class therapy for over a decade.
Prostacyclin-class therapies can be taken 3 different ways
- Pump therapy—a small pump is used to administer medicine directly into your body (through your bloodstream or under your skin) by way of a thin tube called a catheter
- Inhaled therapy—a handheld device is used to inhale the medicine, delivering the medicine directly to your lungs
- Oral therapy—medicine is administered through a pill that you take by mouth
Next: Orenitram is the only FDA-approved oral prostacyclin analogue in a tablet
Do not take Orenitram if you have severe liver problems.
Tell your healthcare provider:
- If you have liver problems or diverticulosis.
- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, and/or plan to become pregnant or breastfeed. It is not known if Orenitram will harm your unborn baby or if Orenitram passes into your breast milk. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby during treatment with Orenitram.
- About all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Orenitram and other medicines may affect each other causing side effects. Do not start any new medicine until you check with your healthcare provider. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take another medicine that contains treprostinil, such as Remodulin® or Tyvaso®.
- Do not change your dose or suddenly stop taking Orenitram without first talking to your healthcare provider.
- Orenitram is usually taken 3 times a day (about every 8 hours) or 2 times a day (about every 12 hours). Your healthcare provider will tell you how often you should take Orenitram. If you have side effects, your healthcare provider may tell you to change your dose or when you take Orenitram. Take Orenitram with food.
- Swallow Orenitram tablets whole. Do not split, chew, crush, or break your Orenitram tablets. Do not take Orenitram tablets that are damaged or broken. If Orenitram tablets are not taken whole, they may release too much medicine at one time. This can lead to side effects.
- If you miss your dose of Orenitram, take the missed dose as soon as possible with food.
- If you miss 2 or more doses of Orenitram, call your healthcare provider to see if you need to change your dose.
- If you take too much Orenitram, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.
- You may see the tablet shell in your stools (bowel movements). This is usually normal. The tablet shell is not digested. If you have diverticulosis, the tablet shell may get stuck in a blind pouch or diverticulum in your intestine.
Orenitram can cause serious side effects, including worsening of PAH symptoms.
- Stopping Orenitram suddenly may cause worsening of your PAH symptoms. Do not change your dose or suddenly stop taking Orenitram without first talking to your healthcare provider.
- The most common side effects of Orenitram include headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, flushing, and pain in arms, legs, and jaw. These are not all of the possible side effects of Orenitram. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.
- Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/MedWatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Orenitram is a prescription medicine used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) which is high blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs. Orenitram can help slow down the progression of your disease and improve your ability to exercise. It is not known if Orenitram is safe and effective in children.
The risk information provided here is not comprehensive. To learn more about Orenitram, talk with your healthcare provider. Please see Full Prescribing Information and Patient Information at www.orenitram.com or call Customer Service at 1-877-UNITHER (1-877-864-8437).