HF 6717

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Medicines: Prostacyclin and Prostacyclin Receptor Agonists

The name of your medicine is: ____________________________.

Prostacyclins and prostacyclin receptor agonists are used to treat Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH). Prostacyclins come in many forms. Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

They help your blood vessels in the body to open. This may help to lower the overall pressure in your blood vessels and decrease how hard your heart has to work. Both men and women with PAH can use this type of medicine as long as they have no other medical reasons that would prevent its use.  

Please keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children. Do not share your medicines with other people.  

Before You Use This Medicine

Tell your health care team if you: 

  • Are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter),

  • Have congestive heart failure,

  • Take any other medicines for high blood pressure,

  • Have asthma,

  • Have a lung infection,

  • Have liver or kidney disease.

How to Use

Take these medicines as told by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. Do not skip doses of the medicine. Do not stop taking the medicine before you talk to your doctor.

Your health care team will choose your “dosing weight.” This helps to set the dose you take. This may not be the same as your current weight at any given time. 

If a pump is used to give you your medicine, you must know how to care for it. A nurse will teach you how to use it and make sure you have the supplies you need. If the pump or any supplies fail, call your doctor right away or go to the nearest emergency room. 

If you have any questions while using this medicine, ask your health care team.

Common Dosing

These medicines are very strong even in small doses. Please make sure you talk with your doctor, nurse and pharmacist. It is important that you understand your dosing plan. 

Please call your specialty pharmacy with any questions. 

Important to Know

This type of medicine may be used with other medicine for PAH. It is important that all members of your healthcare team know what medicines you take. Medicines for PAH can cause a decrease in overall blood pressure. 

Tell any healthcare worker caring for you that your medicine is given through a pump and should not be stopped. Carry a card with the name and phone number of the Specialty Pharmacy that provides your medicine. This should include your current dose, infusion rate, and your “dosing weight.” 

Have your dosing sheets given to you by the Specialty Pharmacy with you at all times. It is important to keep track of when your pump will be empty or close to empty. Always carry an extra supply of medicine with you. 

Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Fever, redness, pain or swelling near the infusion site,

  • Change in heart rate or rhythm,

  • Bleeding that does not stop,

  • Feeling dizzy or faint (get up slowly from a lying position, so you do not faint,

  • Large drop in blood pressure,

  • Swelling of the ankles, legs or other areas of the body,

  • Increased shortness of breath or a hard time breathing.

It is possible to have side effects that do not need to be treated. These may go away over time. If they persist or bother you, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before you stop the medicine. These include:

  • Mild pain or infusion site reaction,

  • Headache,

  • Mild diarrhea or nausea,

  • Mild dizziness or itchiness,

  • Congestion,

  • Skin problems,

  • Body pain,

  • Mild anxiety,

  • Mild flu-like illness,

  • Cough (after doses of Ventavis® or Tyvaso®).

If you have any other effects not listed, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse.  

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.