Subcutaneous (sub-Q) treprostinil is a potent medication to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, a type of high blood pressure in the lungs that affects heart function. Sub-Q treprostinil works by relaxing the blood vessels in the lungs, which decreases pressure and improves heart function.
How it’s administered
Sub-Q treprostinil is delivered as a continuous infusion through a small plastic tube underneath the skin. The tube is attached to a thin line that goes to a syringe in the pump.
The infusion is controlled by a small pump called a CADD MS3. The pump is about the size of a pager. It continuously delivers the medication in small amounts. The pump can fit easily in pants pockets, be clipped to a belt or placed in a fanny pack or purse.
It is critical that this medication remain connected and is continuously delivered. The pump should NEVER be stopped or removed. The pump rate should NEVER be altered.
Quick Emergency Information
Interruptions or changes in subcutaneous treprostinil delivery can be life threatening.
NEVER manipulate your student’s line or pump.
If the student’s line/tubing becomes disconnected and can’t be reconnected with back-up tubing, call 911.
If the pump’s alarm sounds, the student will need to address it immediately.
If the pump stops, and the student experiences chest pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness, fainting or seizures, or appears blue, call 911.
For infusion site failure, insert new sub-Q infusion set and/or replace with back-up pump and syringe cassette. If the sub-Q infusion set can’t be replaced, call 911.
Infusion pump and alarms
The CADD MS3 pump’s alarm will go off if the infusion has been interrupted or the pump malfunctions (both quite rare). The alarms should NEVER be ignored. Parents will discuss with school staff how they would like alarms to be handled. Many patients can solve simple issues such as accidental kinks in tubing. But if a student can’t address the issue, they may need you to call emergency services.
Since sub-Q treprostinil needs to be delivered continuously, patients must keep a back-up pump, medication vial, syringe, line and battery close to them at all times. These supplies are generally stored in the nurse’s office.