Withdrawal of long-term epoprostenol therapy in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)


Once initiated for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), epoprostenol treatment usually needs to be delivered for an indefinite duration. It is possible that some participants could be transitioned from epoprostenol to oral therapies. We retrospectively evaluated eight PAH participants transitioned from epoprostenol to PAH oral drugs. The criteria for epoprostenol withdrawal were: (1) persistent improvement of clinic and hemodynamic status; (2) stable dose of epoprostenol for the last three months; and (3) the participant’s preference for oral therapy after evaluation of risk-benefit. We evaluated the clinical, functional, and hemodynamic status at baseline, at withdrawal, and after the transition to oral PAH therapy. The transition was completed in all eight participants. Four participants had a complete successful transition (CT) with a stable clinical and hemodynamic course and four participants had a partial successful transition (PT) remaining stable clinically, with a mild hemodynamic worsening, but without need to re-initiate epoprostenol therapy. The four CT participants were treated with epoprostenol for a shorter period of time (CT group: 35 ± 30 versus PT group: 79 ± 49 months, P = 0.08). Mean epoprostenol dosage was lower in the CT group (CT group: 15 ± 1.5 ng/kg/min versus PT group: 24 ± 11 ng/kg/min, P = 0.09). Safe withdrawal of epoprostenol treatment and transition to oral PAH therapy was possible in a small and highly selected group of participants. The majority of these participants had a porto-pulmonary PAH or PAH associated to HIV infection.

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Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension


George Calcaianu, Mihaela Calcaianu, Matthieu Canuet, Irina Enache, Romain Kessler

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Pulmonary Circulation Vol 7: No 2 cover image

May 2017

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 7: No 2

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