Uptravi (Selexipag) - Oral

What Is Uptravi?

Uptravi (selexipag) is a prescription medication used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, or PAH (high blood pressure in the blood vessels that carry blood to the lungs). It belongs to a class of drugs known as selective non-prostanoid IP prostacyclin receptor agonists.

Uptravi works to lower the blood pressure in the lungs by dilating the blood vessels that supply blood to the lungs. It makes the blood flow more easily through the arteries in the lungs. It also works by inducing vascular smooth muscle relaxation.

Uptravi comes as an oral tablet and is available only by prescription.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Selexipag

Brand Name(s): Uptravi

Administration Route(s): Oral

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Peripheral vasodilator

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Selexipag

Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Uptravi Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Uptravi to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), which is characterized by high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery.

It helps reduce the progression of the disease and lowers the chances of being hospitalized.

Uptravi (Selexipag) Drug Information - Illustration by Dennis Madamba

Verywell / Dennis Madamba

How to Take Uptravi

Read the prescription label carefully before taking this medication. Ask your healthcare provider about anything you do not understand.

Uptravi is available as an oral tablet, usually taken twice a day with or without food. However, taking Uptravi with food may help you tolerate it better. Take tablets at around the same time each day, as directed. Do not take more, less, or longer than prescribed. Make sure to swallow the tablets whole. Do not break, chew, or crush them.

Your healthcare provider may start treatment on a low dose of Uptravi and gradually increase the dose once every week. Continue to take Uptravi even if you feel well. Do not discontinue without asking your healthcare provider. Sudden discontinuation of the medicine may worsen the condition.

Storage

Store the medicine at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture. Keep all medications locked away from sight and reach of children.

Do not discard medication by flushing down the toilet or pouring them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard the drugs when expired or no longer needed. Contact your pharmacist or local waste disposal company to learn about take-back programs in your community. Many police stations and town/city halls have medication drop boxes that people can discard of their unused/expired medications.

How Long Does Uptravi Take to Work?

After oral administration, Uptravi and its metabolite reached peak plasma concentration at one to three hours and three to four hours.

What Are the Side Effects of Uptravi?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Uptravi may cause some side effects such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in jaw, joints, muscles, arms, or legs
  • Rash

Contact your healthcare provider if the signs become severe or do not go away.

Severe Side Effects

Some side effects can be severe and need emergency medical treatment:

 Get immediate medical help if you have any of these symptoms (new or worsening).

Report Side Effects

Uptravi may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Uptravi Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For pulmonary arterial hypertension:
      • Adults—At first, 200 micrograms (mcg) two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed and tolerated.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

People with moderate liver impairment may require a dosage modification. The dose may be increased weekly as tolerated. However, people with severe liver disease should not use Uptravi at all.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Uptravi, take it as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if the next dose is due in less than six hours. Take your next dose at a regular time. Do not take a double dose to catch up.

If you miss the dose for three or more days, ask your healthcare provider how to restart the medication safely. You may have to restart it at a lower dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Uptravi?

Taking too much Uptravi can result in mild, temporary nausea. Supportive care may help relieve symptoms.

What Happens If I Overdose on Uptravi?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Uptravi, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Uptravi, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Do not use this medicine together with gemfibrozil (Lopid®). Using these medicines together may increase your chance for more serious side effects.

Check with your doctor right away if you have blue lips and fingernails, chest pain, coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum, difficult, fast, or noisy breathing, sometimes with wheezing, pale skin, increased sweating, or swelling in the legs and ankles. These may be symptoms of pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs).

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Uptravi?

You should not take Uptravi if:

  • You have a hypersensitivity to Uptravi or any of the ingredients in the tablet
  • You have severe hepatic impairment (liver disease)
  • You are also taking strong CYP2C8 inhibitors such as Lopid (gemfibrozil), which can double the exposure to Uptravi

It is unknown whether Uptravi will harm a fetus if taken during pregnancy. Inform your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Consult your healthcare provider before breastfeeding while using Uptravi.

What Other Medications Interact With Uptravi?

Some drugs interact with Uptravi and affect its removal from the body, affecting how it works. These include:

  • Strong inhibitors of CYP2C8 such as gemfibrozil
  • Moderate inhibitors of CYP2C8 such as Plavix (clopidogrel)
  • Inducers of CYP2C8 such as rifampin

Concomitant use of these drugs may require a dose adjustment. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take before starting the treatment.

What Medications Are Similar?

Uptravi is a highly selective, long-acting, non-prostanoid prostacyclin receptor agonist. Uptravi increases vasodilation of the arteries, decreases cell proliferation, and causes inhibition of platelet aggregation to ease blood flow. It also induces vascular smooth muscle relaxation.

Other drugs that similarly treat PAH but use different mechanisms of action include:

  • Tyvaso (treprostinil)
  • Letairis (ambrisentan)
  • Revatio (sildenafil)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Uptravi used for?

    Uptravi is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, also known as PAH. Uptravi reduces the risk of hospitalization due to the PAH and helps reduce the progression of the disease.

  • How does Uptravi work?

    Uptravi lowers the blood pressure in the lungs by dilating the blood vessels that supply blood to the lungs. It also induces vascular smooth muscle relaxation.

  • What drugs should not be taken with Uptravi?

    Some drugs interact with Uptravi and change how it works in the body. You should not take Uptravi with gemfibrozil, clopidogrel, or rifampin.

  • What are the side effects of Uptravi?

    Uptravi may cause some side effects such as:

    These side effects are not very severe and do not require serious medical treatment.

  • How do I stop taking Uptravi?

    Do not stop taking Uptravi on your own without speaking with a healthcare provider. Sudden discontinuation of the drug may worsen the condition.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Uptravi?

Uptravi is a relatively new drug that helps reduce the progression of PAH and minimizes the need for hospitalization.

To stay healthy while taking Uptravi, keep your appointments with your healthcare team and take your medication as prescribed to get the maximum benefit. Uptravi should be started or administered under the observation of a PAH-trained professional. People with liver disease or pulmonary venous-occlusive disease, or PVOD (blockage of veins in the lungs), should use the drug with caution to avoid negative side effects.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for education purposes only and not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Sitbon O, Channick R, Chin K, et al. Selexipag for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. N Engl J Med. 2015;373(26):2522-2533. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1503184

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