Continuous subcutaneous infusion of treprostinil, a prostacyclin analogue, in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002 Mar 15;165(6):800-4. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.165.6.2106079.


Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a life-threatening disease for which continuous intravenous prostacyclin has proven to be effective. However, this treatment requires a permanent central venous catheter with the associated risk of serious complications such as sepsis, thromboembolism, or syncope. Treprostinil, a stable prostacyclin analogue, can be administered by a continuous subcutaneous infusion, avoiding these risks. We conducted a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter trial in 470 patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension, either primary or associated with connective tissue disease or congenital systemic-to-pulmonary shunts. Exercise capacity improved with treprostinil and was unchanged with placebo; the between treatment group difference in median six-minute walking distance was 16 m (p = 0.006). Improvement in exercise capacity was greater in the sicker patients and was dose-related, but independent of disease etiology. Concomitantly, treprostinil significantly improved indices of dyspnea, signs and symptoms of pulmonary hypertension, and hemodynamics. The most common side effect attributed to treprostinil was infusion site pain (85%) leading to premature discontinuation from the study in 8% of patients. Three patients in the treprostinil treatment group presented with an episode of gastrointestinal hemorrhage. We conclude that chronic subcutaneous infusion of treprostinil is an effective treatment with an acceptable safety profile in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epoprostenol / adverse effects
  • Epoprostenol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Infusion Pumps
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Epoprostenol