Selexipag: First Global Approval

Drugs. 2016 Mar;76(3):413-8. doi: 10.1007/s40265-016-0549-4.


Selexipag (Uptravi(®)) is a highly selective, long-acting, nonprostanoid, prostacyclin receptor agonist that is being developed by Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Nippon Shinyaku. Oral selexipag is approved in the USA for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH; WHO Group I) to delay disease progression and reduce the risk of hospitalization for PAH. It has subsequently been approved in Canada for the long-term treatment of PAH, and received a positive opinion in the EU for the treatment of PAH in adult patients with WHO functional class II-III. Selexipag received orphan drug designation for the treatment of PAH in Japan in 2014 and is in undergoing regulatory review in several countries for use in this indication. In the large, event-driven, phase III GRIPHON trial, selexipag reduced the risk of the primary composite endpoint of death or a complication related to PAH (whichever occurred first) by 40 % compared with placebo in patients with PAH (80 % were also receiving stable dosages of an endothelin receptor antagonist and/or a phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor). This article summarizes the milestones in the development of selexipag leading to this first approval for PAH.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetamides / administration & dosage
  • Acetamides / adverse effects
  • Acetamides / pharmacokinetics
  • Acetamides / therapeutic use*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Antihypertensive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Approval*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / metabolism
  • Pyrazines / administration & dosage
  • Pyrazines / adverse effects
  • Pyrazines / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyrazines / therapeutic use*
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin / agonists*


  • Acetamides
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Pyrazines
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin
  • selexipag