July 1, 2016
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Mechanism Of Action

Treprostinil is a prostacyclin analogue. The major pharmacologic actions of treprostinil are direct vasodilation of pulmonary and systemic arterial vascular beds and inhibition of platelet aggregation.


In a clinical trial of 240 healthy volunteers, single doses of Tyvaso 54 mcg (the target maintenance dose per session) and 84 mcg (supratherapeutic inhalation dose) prolonged the corrected QTc interval by approximately 10 ms. The QTc effect dissipated rapidly as the concentration of treprostinil decreased.


Pharmacokinetic information for single doses of inhaled treprostinil was obtained in healthy volunteers in three separate studies. Treprostinil systemic exposure (AUC and Cmax) post-inhalation was shown to be proportional to the doses administered (18 mcg – 90 mcg).

Absorption and Distribution

In a three-period crossover study, the bioavailability of two single doses of Tyvaso (18 mcg and 36 mcg) was compared with that of intravenous treprostinil in 18 healthy volunteers. Mean estimates of the absolute systemic bioavailability of treprostinil after inhalation were approximately 64% (18 mcg) and 72% (36 mcg).

Treprostinil plasma exposure data were obtained from two studies at the target maintenance dose, 54 mcg. The mean Cmax at the target dose was 0.91 and 1.32 ng/mL with corresponding mean Tmax of 0.25 and 0.12 hr, respectively. The mean AUC for the 54 mcg dose was 0.81 and 0.97 hr•ng/mL, respectively.

Following parenteral infusion, the apparent steady state volume of distribution (Vss) of treprostinil is approximately 14 L/70 kg ideal body weight.

In vitro treprostinil is 91% bound to human plasma proteins over the 330-10,000 mcg/L concentration range.

Metabolism and Excretion

Of subcutaneously administered treprostinil, only 4% is excreted unchanged in urine. Treprostinil is substantially metabolized by the liver, primarily by CYP2C8. Metabolites are excreted in urine (79%) and feces (13%) over 10 days. Five apparently inactive metabolites were detected in the urine, each accounting for 10-15% of the dose administered. Four of the metabolites are products of oxidation of the 3-hydroxyloctyl side chain and one is a glucuroconjugated derivative (treprostinil glucuronide).

The elimination of treprostinil (following subcutaneous administration of treprostinil) is biphasic, with a terminal elimination half-life of approximately 4 hours using a two compartment model.

Special Populations

Hepatic Insufficiency

Plasma clearance of treprostinil, delivered subcutaneously, was reduced up to 80% in subjects presenting with mild-to-moderate hepatic insufficiency. Treprostinil has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic insufficiency [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use In Specific Populations].

Renal Insufficiency

No studies have been performed in patients with renal insufficiency; therefore, since treprostinil and its metabolites are excreted mainly through the urinary route, there is the potential for an increase in both parent drug and its metabolites and an increase in systemic exposure [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Use in Specific Populations].

Developmental Toxicity

In pregnant rats, continuous sc infusions of treprostinil sodium during organogenesis and late gestational development, at rates as high as 900 ng treprostinil/kg/min (about 117 times the recommended starting human sc infusion rate and about 16 times the average rate achieved in clinical trials, on a ng/m² basis), resulted in no evidence of harm to the fetus. In pregnant rabbits, effects of continuous sc infusions of treprostinil during organogenesis were limited to an increased incidence of fetal skeletal variations (bilateral full rib or right rudimentary rib on lumbar vertebra 1) associated with maternal toxicity (reduction in body weight and food consumption) at an infusion rate of 150 ng treprostinil/kg/min (about 41 times the starting human sc infusion rate and 5 times the average rate achieved in clinical trials, on a ng/m² basis).

Inhalational Toxicity

Rats and dogs that received daily administrations of treprostinil by inhalation for 3 months developed respiratory tract lesions (respiratory epithelial degeneration, goblet cell hyperplasia/hypertrophy, epithelial ulceration, squamous epithelial degeneration and necrosis, and lung hemorrhage). Some of the same lesions seen in animals sacrificed at the end of treatment (larynx, lung and nasal cavity lesions in rats, and lesions of the larynx in dogs) were also observed in animals sacrificed after a 4-week recovery period. Rats also developed cardiac changes (degeneration/fibrosis). A no-effect dose level for these effects was not demonstrated in rats (doses as low as 7 μg/kg/day were administered); whereas 107 μg/kg/day was a no-effect dose level in dogs.

In a 2-year rat study with treprostinil inhalation at target doses of 5.26, 10.6, and 34.1 mcg/kg/day, there were more deaths (11) in the mid and high dose treprostinil groups during the first 9 weeks of the study, compared to 1 in control groups. At the high dose level, males showed a higher incidence of inflammation in teeth and preputial gland, and females showed higher incidences of inflammation and urothelial hyperplasia in the urinary bladder. The exposures in rats at mid and high dose levels were about 15 and 35 times, respectively, the clinical exposure at the target maintenance dose of 54 mcg.

Clinical Studies

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (WHO Group I)

TRIUMPH I, was a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multi-center study of patients with PAH. The study population included 235 clinically stable subjects with pulmonary arterial hypertension (WHO Group 1), nearly all with NYHA Class III (98%) symptoms who were receiving either bosentan (an endothelin receptor antagonist) or sildenafil (a phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor) for at least three months prior to study initiation. Concomitant therapy also could have included anticoagulants, other vasodilators (e.g., calcium channel blockers), diuretics, oxygen, and digitalis, but not a prostacyclin. These patients were administered either placebo or Tyvaso in four daily treatment sessions with a target dose of 9 breaths (54 mcg) per session over the course of the 12-week study. Patients were predominantly female (82%), had the origin of PAH as idiopathic/heritable (56%), secondary to connective tissue diseases (33%) or secondary to HIV or previous use of anorexigens (12%); bosentan was the concomitant oral medication in 70% of those enrolled, sildenafil in 30%.

The primary efficacy endpoint of the trial was the change in six-minute walk distance (6MWD) relative to baseline at 12 weeks. 6MWD was measured at peak exposure (between 10 and 60 minutes after dosing), and 3-5 hours after bosentan or 0.5-2 hours after sildenafil. Patients receiving Tyvaso had a placebo-corrected median change from baseline in peak 6MWD of 20 meters at Week 12 (p < 0.001). The distribution of these 6MWD changes from baseline at Week 12 were plotted across the range of observed values (Figure 1). 6MWD measured at trough exposure (defined as measurement of 6MWD at least 4 hours after dosing) improved by 14 meters. There were no placebo-controlled 6MWD assessments made after 12 weeks.

Figure 1 : Distributions of 6MWD Changes from Baseline at Week 12 during Peak Plasma Concentration of Tyvaso

Distributions of 6MWD Changes from Baseline at Week 12 during Peak Plasma Concentration of Tyvaso - Illustration

The placebo-corrected median treatment effect on 6MWD was estimated (using the Hodges-Lehmann estimator) within various subpopulations defined by age quartile, gender, geographic region of the study site, disease etiology, baseline 6MWD quartile, and type of background therapy (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Placebo Corrected Median Treatment Effect (Hodges-Lehmann estimate with 95% CI) on 6MWD Change from Baseline at Week 12 During Peak Plasma Concentration of Tyvaso for Various Subgroups

Placebo Corrected Median Treatment Effect - Illustration

Long-term Treatment Of PAH

In long-term follow-up of patients who were treated with Tyvaso in the pivotal study and the open-label extension (N=206), Kaplan-Meier estimates of survival at 1, 2, and 3 years were 97%, 91%, and 82%, respectively. These uncontrolled observations do not allow comparison with a control group not given Tyvaso and cannot be used to determine the long-term effect of Tyvaso on mortality.

Last reviewed on RxList: 6/4/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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