Experience in Transitioning From Parenteral Prostacyclins to Selexipag in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.


Parenteral prostacyclin therapies remain first-line therapy for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) with class IV symptoms. In selected patients who have been clinically stabilized, switching to selexipag, a chemically distinct prostacyclin receptor agonist, may alleviate risks associated with long-term parenteral therapy. We report our experience with transition of patients from parenteral prostacyclin therapy to selexipag. From January 2016 to July 2017, patients with PAH at the Duke University Pulmonary Vascular Disease Center with functional class II symptoms on stable parenteral prostacyclin therapy were offered the opportunity to transition to selexipag. A standardized protocol was developed to guide titration of therapies. Patients underwent pre- and post-transition assessments of hemodynamics, echocardiography, laboratory biomarkers, and functional status. We studied 14 patients with PAH (11 women; median age 53 years) in total. Overall, 13 patients tolerated the switch to selexipag and remained on the drug at study completion, and 1 patient passed away due to progressive liver failure. Surrogate markers including NT-proBNP, 6MWD, RV function, and TAPSE, and right heart catheterization hemodynamics were similar before and after transition. The transition from parenteral prostanoid therapy to oral selexipag was overall well-tolerated in patients with stable PAH and functional class II symptoms. Finally, doses of selexipag up to 3200 μg twice daily were well-tolerated in patients who had been treated with prior parenteral prostacyclins.





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Publication Info

Parikh, Kishan S, Sean Doerfler, Nicholas Shelburne, Karla Kennedy, Jordan Whitson, Talal Dahhan, Terry Fortin, Sudarshan Rajagopal, et al. (2020). Experience in Transitioning From Parenteral Prostacyclins to Selexipag in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology, 75(4). pp. 299–304. 10.1097/fjc.0000000000000800 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22291.

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Kishan S Parikh

Adjunct Associate in the Department of Medicine

Duke University Medical Center
Duke Clinical Research Institute


Talal I Dahhan

Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine

An Internist, Pulmonologist and Critical Care Medicine physician with great interest in diagnosis and management of pulmonary vascular disease, as well as innovations in critical care curricular designs and graduate medical education.


Terry Ann Fortin

Associate Professor of Medicine

Sudarshan Rajagopal

Associate Professor of Medicine

I am a physician-scientist with a research focus on G protein-coupled receptor signaling in inflammation and vascular disease and a clinical focus on pulmonary vascular disease, as I serve as Co-Director of the Duke Pulmonary Vascular Disease Center. My research spans the spectrum from clinical research in pulmonary vascular disease, to translational research in cardiovascular disease, to the basic science of receptor signaling. 

Our basic science resesarch focuses on understanding and untapping the signaling potential of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to regulate inflammation in vascular disease. GPCRs are the most common transmembrane receptors in the human genome (over 800 members) and are some of the most successful targets for drug therapies. While it has been known for some time that these receptors signal through multiple downstream effectors (such as heterotrimeric G proteins and multifunctional beta arrestin adapter proteins), over the past decade it has been better appreciated that these receptors are capable of signaling with different efficacies to these effectors, a phenomenon referred to as “biased agonism”. Ligands can be biased, by activating different pathways from one another, and receptors can be biased, by signaling to a limited number of pathways that are normally available to them. Moreover, this phenomenon also appears to be common to other transmembrane and nuclear receptors. While a growing number of biased agonists acting at multiple receptors have been identified, there is still little known regarding the mechanisms underlying biased signaling and its physiologic impact.

Much of our research focuses on the chemokine system, which consists of approximately twenty receptors and fifty ligands that display considerable promiscuity with each other in the regulation of immune cell function in inflammatory diseases. Research from our group and others have shown that many of these ligands act as biased agonists when signaling through the same receptor. We use models of inflammation such as contact hypersensitivity and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). PAH is a disease of the pulmonary arterioles that results in right heart failure and most of its treatments target signaling by GPCRs. We use multiple approaches to probe these signaling mechanisms, including in-house pharmacological assays, advanced phosphoproteomics and single cell RNA sequencing.

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