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Helpful Hints

Learning About PAH and PAH Symptoms

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is high blood pressure in the arteries that carry blood to the lungs, which provide your blood with fresh oxygen.1 Once this oxygenated blood leaves the lungs, it goes back to your heart to be pumped out to all parts of your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and organs.

When the pressure is high in the pulmonary arteries, the heart has to work much harder to get blood into the lungs, causing shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, heart palpitations, and/or fainting.1-3 These symptoms may occur with or without exertion.1

PAH symptoms

Symptoms of PAH

Symptoms of PAH are caused by a lack of oxygen due to narrowed blood vessels in the lungs and increased stress on the heart. Symptoms may not be obvious at first, but over time they can become more limiting.

PAH symptoms include*5:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea), the most common symptom
  • Fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Swollen ankles and legs (edema)
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

*VELETRI® (epoprostenol) for Injection is not approved to treat all of the symptoms of PAH.6

Get helpful resources about PAH.

Read about VELETRI


Who should not take VELETRI?

VELETRI should not be used if you have heart failure due to severe left heart disease, if you develop fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) when starting therapy, or if you are allergic to epoprostenol.

Some medications may interact with VELETRI. Please talk to your doctor about all of your medications.

What is the most important information I should know about VELETRI?

It is important to use VELETRI as directed by your doctor. VELETRI should be used only with Sterile Water for Injection, USP, or Sodium Chloride 0.9% Injection, USP. Do not mix VELETRI with other intravenous medications. Each vial is for single use only; discard any unused medication. Use at room temperature (77°F/25°C). Do not expose VELETRI to direct sunlight.

When you take epoprostenol for the first time, you must be in a setting (hospital or clinic) where you can be monitored for any serious side effects or in case of emergency. Your blood pressure and heart rate should also be monitored with any dose changes. If you are taking VELETRI, your doctor may prescribe another kind of medicine used to prevent blood clots. It is the use of these medications concomitantly (in combination) with VELETRI that may potentially cause an increase in the risk of bleeding.

What is VELETRI?

VELETRI is a prescription medicine that is given intravenously (in a vein). It is used to treat adults with certain kinds of severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) (WHO Group 1), a condition in which blood pressure is too high in the blood vessels between the heart and the lungs. VELETRI may improve your ability to exercise as measured by how far you can walk in 6 minutes (6-minute walk test).

Studies showing VELETRI is effective included mainly patients with NYHA Functional Class III-IV PAH. In these patients, PAH was caused by unidentified or hereditary factors or connective tissue disease.

Who should not take VELETRI?

VELETRI should not be used if you have heart failure due to severe left heart disease, if you develop fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) when starting therapy, or if you are allergic to epoprostenol.

Some medications may interact with VELETRI. Please talk to your doctor about all of your medications.

What is the most important information I should know about VELETRI?

It is important to use VELETRI as directed by your doctor. VELETRI should be used only with Sterile Water for Injection, USP, or Sodium Chloride 0.9% Injection, USP. Do not mix VELETRI with other intravenous medications. Each vial is for single use only; discard any unused medication. Use at room temperature (77°F/25°C). Do not expose VELETRI to direct sunlight.

When you take epoprostenol for the first time, you must be in a setting (hospital or clinic) where you can be monitored for any serious side effects or in case of emergency. Your blood pressure and heart rate should also be monitored with any dose changes. If you are taking VELETRI, your doctor may prescribe another kind of medicine used to prevent blood clots. It is the use of these medications concomitantly (in combination) with VELETRI that may potentially cause an increase in the risk of bleeding.

Sudden and dramatic changes in dose may lead to unstable blood pressure, a return of pulmonary hypertension symptoms, or fatal low blood pressure (hypotension). Do not stop using VELETRI without first talking to your doctor.

To reduce the risk of infection in the bloodstream, it is important to know how to properly care for the catheter and infusion pump.

What is VELETRI?

VELETRI is a prescription medicine that is given intravenously (in a vein). It is used to treat adults with certain kinds of severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) (WHO Group 1), a condition in which blood pressure is too high in the blood vessels between the heart and the lungs. VELETRI may improve your ability to exercise as measured by how far you can walk in 6 minutes (6-minute walk test).

Studies showing VELETRI is effective included mainly patients with NYHA Functional Class III-IV PAH. In these patients, PAH was caused by unidentified or hereditary factors or connective tissue disease.

What are the possible side effects of VELETRI?

You may have side effects at the start of treatment or with dose increases. The most common side effects seen in at least 1% of patients were flushing, headache, nausea/vomiting, low blood pressure, anxiety/nervousness, chest pain, dizziness, slow heartbeat, abdominal pain, pain in the muscles and/or ligaments and bones, shortness of breath, back pain, sweating, upset stomach, numbness/increased sensitivity, and fast heartbeat.

The most common side effects in patients with PAH due to unidentified or hereditary factors with at least 10% difference between the group that received epoprostenol and the group that received conventional therapy alone were flu-like symptoms, fast heartbeat, flushing, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, jaw pain, pain in the muscles and/or ligaments and bones, anxiety/nervousness, dizziness, headache, and numbness/increased sensitivity/tingling.

The most common side effects in patients with PAH due to connective tissue disease with at least 10% difference between the group that received epoprostenol and the group that received conventional therapy alone were flushing, low blood pressure, lack of appetite, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, jaw pain, neck/joint pain, headache, skin ulcer, and rash.

Talk to your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of VELETRI. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Please see full Prescribing Information.

1. McLaughlin V. Pulmonary hypertension. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:389-397.
2. Gomberg-Maitland M, Bull TM, Saggar R et al. New trial designs and potential therapies for pulmonary artery hypertension. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;62(suppl D):D82-D91.
3. Howard LS. Prognostic factors in pulmonary arterial hypertension: assessing the course of the disease. Eur Respir Rev. 2011;20:236-242.
4. McLaughlin VV, Archer SL, Badesch DB, et al. ACCF/AHA 2009 expert consensus document on pulmonary hypertension. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009;53:1573-1619.
5. Brown LM, Chen H, Halpern S, et al. Delay in recognition of pulmonary arterial hypertension: factors identified from the REVEAL registry. Chest. 2011;140:19-26.
6. VELETRI® (epoprostenol) for Injection Full Prescribing Information. Actelion Pharmaceuticals US, Inc. July 2016.