What is Adempas?
Adempas is the first and only medicine approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating adults with:
Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) (WHO Group 4) treated with surgery but who continue to have high pulmonary blood pressure (persistent) or it comes back after surgery (recurrent), or that cannot be treated with surgery.
CTEPH is a type of high blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs caused by blood clots that narrow or block blood flow. Adempas can improve your ability to exercise (measured by a 6-minute walk distance [6MWD]) and can help to improve some of your symptoms.
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) (WHO Group 1).
PAH is a type of high blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs. Adempas can improve your ability to exercise (measured by 6MWD), improve some of your symptoms, and help slow down the worsening of your physical condition [this includes death, heart/lung transplant, a surgery to reduce pressure in your lungs, hospitalization for worsening of pulmonary hypertension, start of a new PAH-specific treatment, continued decline in your ability to exercise (measured by 6MWD) and some of your symptoms].
The Adempas clinical studies included mostly patients with WHO functional class II-III symptoms. It is unknown if Adempas is safe and effective in children.
What is Pulmonary Hypertension (PH)?
PAH (WHO Group 1) and CTEPH (WHO Group 4) that is either inoperable or recurrent/persistent after surgery are 2 different types of PH. The Adempas clinical studies included mostly patients with WHO functional class II–III symptoms.
PH is the name of the condition that causes people to have high blood pressure in the blood vessels of their lungs. Smaller openings or blockages in blood vessels make it more difficult for blood to get to the lungs. Because of this increased pressure, the heart has to pump harder and harder.
Over time, increased pressure in blood vessels can cause the right side of the heart to get bigger and weaker. When the right side of the heart is weakened, it has a harder time pumping enough blood and oxygen to the left side of the heart and the rest of the body.
How far might Adempas take me?
Adempas can help increase your ability to walk farther as measured by a 6-minute walk distance test.
In clinical studies:
443 adults taking Adempas for PAH (WHO Group 1) were able to walk 118 feet farther in a 6-minute walk test than patients taking a placebo (not Adempas) at the end of a 12-week study (-20 feet without Adempas therapy, +98 feet with Adempas therapy)
261 adults taking Adempas for CTEPH (WHO Group 4) that was inoperable or recurrent/persistent after surgery were able to walk 147 feet farther in a 6-minute walk test than patients taking a placebo (not Adempas) at the end of a 16-week study (-20 feet without Adempas therapy, +127 feet with Adempas therapy)
The Adempas clinical studies included mostly patients with WHO functional class II–III symptoms. It is not known if Adempas is safe and effective in children.
When do I need to call my doctor?
Call your doctor if:
You have symptoms of low blood pressure such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
You ever experience any adverse side effects
You take too much Adempas
You miss 3 or more days of Adempas
You stop smoking or start smoking
You are a female patient and miss a menstrual period, think you may be pregnant, or have questions about feeding your baby (it is not known if Adempas passes into your breast milk)
Do not take Adempas within 24 hours of sildenafil. Do not take Adempas 24 hours before or within 48 hours after tadalafil.
However, always take Adempas exactly as your doctor tells you. Don’t stop taking it or change your dose without talking to your doctor.
What is PAH?
PAH is a type of high blood pressure in the arteries (blood vessels) of your lungs. An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart. The pulmonary arteries carry blood from the heart to the lungs.
This high blood pressure is caused when the openings in the blood vessels of the lungs get smaller and smaller. These smaller openings can be caused by the following:
The walls of the arteries tightening
The walls of the arteries becoming stiff and narrow from an overgrowth of cells
How is PAH diagnosed?
Some of the tests used to diagnose PAH include an echocardiogram (images produced by sound waves bounced off the heart and lungs) and right-heart catheterization (a tube inserted in the pulmonary artery that measures blood pressure).
Can PAH be treated?
The increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries strains the right side of the heart and it begins to fail. There is no cure for PAH, but several medications are available to help slow the progression of changes in the pulmonary arteries and help reduce symptoms. However, even with medication, about half of patients are still in WHO functional class III.
To treat your PAH, your doctor may give you Adempas. Adempas is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with PAH. The Adempas clinical studies included mostly patients with WHO functional class II–III symptoms.
Could my doctor prescribe other medications for PAH with Adempas?
Adempas can be taken alone or together with endothelin receptor antagonists or prostanoids, which are medications your doctor may also prescribe for PAH. Do not take Adempas if you take certain other medicines used to treat PAH, called Revatio (sildenafil) and Adcirca (tadalafil).
Can PAH become more serious?
As PAH progress, symptoms get worse. The WHO developed a scale for doctors to rate the severity of PAH symptoms. Your doctor will determine which WHO functional class you belong to. A lower class number (I or II) means that you have less severe symptoms. Identifying your WHO functional class is one of the ways your doctor determines an appropriate course of treatment.
What is CTEPH?
CTEPH is a type of high blood pressure in the arteries (blood vessels) of your lungs caused by blood clots that narrow or block blood flow. In most cases of CTEPH, blood clots in the blood vessels of your legs break off and travel to the lungs. Sometimes, however, blood clots or tissue growth may form in the blood vessels of the lungs. Over time, extra tissue forms over these clots and creates a blockage that can’t be removed with blood thinners alone.
How is CTEPH diagnosed?
Some of the tests used to diagnose CTEPH include an echocardiogram, right-heart catheterization, ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) scan (measures the amount of air and blood flowing through the lungs), and computed tomography (CT) angiography (computerized imaging of the blood vessels in the heart and lungs).
Can CTEPH be treated?
CTEPH may be treated with an operation called pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE). During this very specialized operation, clots and other blockages of the pulmonary arteries are removed. CTEPH is potentially cured after the surgical procedure.
However, if you are not a candidate for PTE surgery, or your high pulmonary blood pressure continued (persistent) or came back (recurrent) after PTE surgery, your doctor can treat your CTEPH with Adempas. The Adempas clinical studies included mostly patients with WHO functional class II–III symptoms.
Can CTEPH become more serious?
As CTEPH progresses, symptoms get worse. The WHO developed a scale for doctors to rate the severity of CTEPH symptoms. Your doctor will determine which WHO functional class you belong to. A lower class number (I or II) means that you have less severe symptoms. Identifying your WHO functional class is one of the ways your doctor determines your best course of treatment.
What special information should I share with my doctor before taking Adempas?
Before you take Adempas, tell your doctor if you:
smoke; have recently had serious bleeding from your lungs, or if you have had a medical procedure called bronchial arterial embolization to stop you from coughing up blood; have problems with your heart or blood circulation; have low blood pressure; have liver problems; have kidney problems or are on dialysis; have narrowing of the pulmonary veins, a condition called pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD); have any other medical conditions.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Adempas and other medicines may affect each other, causing side effects. Do not start any new medicine until you check with your doctor.
Who can fill my Adempas prescription?
Adempas will be provided to you by a certified pharmacy. Your doctor will give you complete details.
What dose of Adempas will I take?
The Adempas starting dose is 0.5 mg or 1 mg. During the first weeks, your doctor may increase your dose. When you begin treatment, your blood pressure should be monitored about every 2 weeks to help your doctor decide the correct dose of medicine for you. Do not take Adempas within 24 hours of sildenafil. Do not take Adempas 24 hours before or within 48 hours after tadalafil. Always take Adempas exactly as your doctor tells you. Don’t stop taking it or change your dose without talking to your doctor.
How often do I take Adempas?
Take Adempas 3 times each day, about 6 to 8 hours apart, with or without food. Do not take more than a total of 7.5 mg of Adempas in 1 day unless your doctor tells you to. Do not take Adempas within 24 hours of sildenafil. Do not take Adempas 24 hours before or within 48 hours after tadalafil. Always take Adempas exactly as your doctor tells you. Don’t stop taking it or change your dose without talking to your doctor.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take your next dose at the regular time. If you miss 3 or more days of Adempas, call your doctor. Don't stop taking it or change your dose without talking to your doctor.
Can I take Adempas with heartburn medicine?
If you take a heartburn medicine (antacid) that contains aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide, do not take it within 1 hour of taking Adempas.
Who should not take Adempas?
Do not take Adempas if:
you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or become pregnant during treatment with Adempas. Adempas can cause serious birth defects
a nitrate medicine to treat high blood pressure or heart disease, such as nitroglycerin, or a medicine called a nitric oxide donor, such as amyl nitrite
certain other medicines that contain sildenafil (Revatio or Viagra), tadalafil (Adcirca or Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra or Staxyn), dipyridamole, or theophylline. Revatio and Adcirca are also used to treat PAH
you have pulmonary hypertension associated with idiopathic interstitial pneumonias (PH-IIP)
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take any of the medicines listed above.
What nursing support is available through the Aim Patient Support Program?
As directed by your physician, you can access the assistance of nurses in 2 ways:
Toll-free access, 24/7
Representatives on call to address your questions
A nurse can:
Administer a clinical assessment
Follow up on your specific journey
Provide Adempas information
What financial support does the Aim Patient Support Program offer?
The Aim Support Center gives you access to financial assistance programs, including:
Co-pay Assistance Program*
Reduce out-of-pocket costs; up to 100% of co-pays or coinsurance paid directly to the insurer
*Patients must have private commercial insurance with a percentage coinsurance or co-pay requirement. Medicare or Medicaid patients are ineligible for the $0 co-pay program. Assistance is for 1 year, after which, patients must re-apply. Patients must notify the program of any change in their insurance status. Patients in certain states may be ineligible.
Patient Assistance Program (PAP)†
Eligible individuals can apply to receive medication free of cost for up to 1 year
Eligibility and criteria may vary
†Medicare Part D patients will be enrolled based on calendar year.
WHO=World Health Organization