The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group is supporting the use of Bayer’s Adempas on the National Health Service to treat some patients with pulmonary hypertension.

The move gives certain adult patients with inoperable chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) or recurrent CTEPH access to the first oral licensed treatment for use after surgery, to improve their exercise capacity.

CTEPH causes severe narrowing of blood vessels in the lungs leading to high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries, leaving patients with breathlessness and fatigue upon minimal physical activity, chest pain and dizziness. Untreated, it eventually leads to heart failure and premature death.

Though often treated with surgery, a significant number of patients are unable to undergo the highly specialised procedure and up to 10%-15% of those who do still have persistent or recurrent pulmonary hypertension after.

The decision completes a full set of recommendations for CTEPH in the UK, following decisions by the Scottish Medicines Consortium and NHS England, which Bayer says “allows for greater awareness and management of this rare disease”.

The AWMSG has also agreed that Adempas (riociguat) can be considered an option for some adult patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) to boost exercise capacity. Like CTEPH, the disease is also characterised by narrowing of the blood vessels which leads to increased pressure in the main artery to the lungs, making physical activity of any kind difficult. There are also limited treatment options for this condition and surgical intervention is not always possible or successful. 

Adempas belongs to a novel class of agents called SGC stimulators and is the only oral treatment licensed for use in CTEPH and PAH, account for more than 60% of the UK PH population sub-groups.