Background: Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a life-threatening disease for which both continuous IV epoprostenol and continuous subcutaneous treprostinil have proven effective. With continuous IV treprostinil having potential advantages over both of the above therapies, we investigated the safety and efficacy of this regimen in patients with PAH.
Methods: We conducted a 12-week, prospective, open-label, uncontrolled, multicenter study of continuous IV treprostinil in 16 patients with PAH that was idiopathic (n = 8), related to connective tissue disease (n = 6), or related to congenital heart disease (n = 2). The primary end point was change from baseline to week 12 in exercise capacity assessed by the 6-min walk (6MW) test.
Results: Continuous IV treprostinil increased 6MW distance (mean ± SE) by 82 m from baseline (319 ± 22 m) to week 12 (400 ± 26 m) [n = 14; p = 0.001]. There were also significant improvements in the secondary end points of Naughton-Balke treadmill time (p = 0.007), Borg dyspnea score (p = 0.008), and hemodynamics (mean pulmonary artery pressure, p = 0.03; cardiac index, p = 0.002; pulmonary vascular resistance, p = 0.001) at week 12 compared with baseline. Side effects were mild and consistent with those reported with prostacyclin treatment. One death, unrelated to study drug, occurred during the 12-week study in a patient who received 3 days of treprostinil and died 2 weeks later.
Conclusions: Long-term IV infusion of treprostinil is safe and appears to be effective for the treatment of patients with PAH.