Add-on therapy with prostacyclin in pediatric refractory pulmonary hypertension (PH) poses a challenge, especially when considering continuous intravenous administration in younger children. A search for alternate routes of drug delivery has led to the clinical investigation of stable and long-acting prostacyclin analogues, such as subcutaneous treprostinil. We reported 2 pediatric cases of PH treated with subcutaneous treprostinil and reviewed the literature on treprostinil use in children.
The literature review used 3 electronic databases and a combination of terms (treprostinil, pediatric, PH, prostanoid, etc). We also searched for pediatric clinical trials on treprostinil registered on international clinical trial registries.
The reported cases highlighted the multifactorial nature of PH in pediatrics: a female child with a giant omphalocele, and intracardiac and extracardiac shunts; and a male premature child with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and long-term PH. The literature review identified 19 studies reporting treprostinil use in 421 children with various types of PH (groups 1 and 3). Subcutaneous treprostinil was the most administered formulation, at a mean dose of 40 ng/kg/min. Overall, 12 clinical trials on treprostinil for children with PH were registered on the clinical trial registries. Most authors concluded that subcutaneous treprostinil was effective, well tolerated, and represented an alternative to intravenous epoprostenol.
Subcutaneous treprostinil may be a useful adjunct in the therapeutic algorithm for children with severe PH, refractory to oral drugs, and after a complete check-up for all PH etiologies.