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Open label study of escalating doses of oral treprostinil diethanolamine in patients with systemic sclerosis and digital ischemia: pharmacokinetics and correlation with digital perfusion

Ami A Shah*, Elena Schiopu, Laura K Hummers, Michael Wade, Kristine Phillips, Cynthia Anderson, Robert Wise, Francesco Boin, James R Seibold, Fredrick Wigley and Kristan D Rollins

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:R54  doi:10.1186/ar4216

Published: 18 April 2013

Abstract (provisional)


Treprostinil diethanolamine is an innovative salt form of the prostacyclin analogue, treprostinil sodium, developed as an oral sustained release (SR) osmotic tablet. The availability of a formulation permitting convenient systemic delivery might have applicability to scleroderma vascular complications. We evaluated pharmacokinetics and perfusion in scleroderma patients with digital ischemia following escalating twice-daily doses of treprostinil diethanolamine SR.


Scleroderma patients with digital ulcers were enrolled in this dual-center, open-label, phase I pharmacokinetic study. Drug concentrations and perfusion, quantified by laser Doppler imaging, were measured over 12 hours at the 2 mg and 4 mg (or maximally tolerated) doses. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined from individual plasma concentration versus time profiles using non-compartmental analysis methods. Digital perfusion and skin temperature were modeled as a function of log-transformed drug concentration and other covariates by performing repeated measures analyses using random effects models.


Nineteen scleroderma patients (84% female, 53% limited scleroderma) received treprostinil diethanolamine SR with dose titration up to 4 mg twice daily as tolerated. Peak concentrations (mean maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) = 1,176 and 2,107 pg/mL) occurred approximately 3.6 hours after dose administration, and overall exposure (under the plasma concentration-time curve from time 0 to 12 hours post dose (AUC0-12) = 7,187 and 12,992 hr*pg/mL) was linear between the 2 mg and 4 mg doses. Perfusion and digital skin temperature were positively associated with log-transformed plasma concentration at the 4 mg dose (P = 0.015 and P = 0.013, respectively). The most frequent adverse events were similar to those seen with prostacyclin analogues.


Oral treprostinil diethanolamine was effectively absorbed in patients with scleroderma. Drug administration was temporally associated with improved cutaneous perfusion and temperature. Treprostinil diethanolamine may provide a new therapeutic option for Raynaud's phenomenon and the peripheral vascular disease of scleroderma.

Trial Registration NCT00848939.

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