Skip to main content

Flolan (Intravenous)

Generic name: epoprostenole-poe-PROST-en-ol ]
Brand names: Flolan, Veletri
Drug class: Agents for pulmonary hypertension

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 16, 2023.

Uses for Flolan

Epoprostenol injection is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), which is the high blood pressure that occurs in the main artery that carries blood from the right side of the heart (the ventricle) to the lungs. When the smaller blood vessels in the lungs become more resistant to blood flow, the right ventricle must work harder to pump enough blood through the lungs. It works by relaxing these blood vessels and increasing the supply of blood to the lungs, which reduces the workload of the heart.

Epoprostenol belongs to a group of agents called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins occur naturally in the body and are involved in many biological functions. Epoprostenol works by relaxing blood vessels and increasing the supply of blood to the lungs, reducing the workload of the heart.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before using Flolan

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of epoprostenol injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of epoprostenol injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving epoprostenol injection.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper use of Flolan

A nurse or other trained health professional will teach you or a caregiver how to give this medicine. It is given as an infusion through a catheter that is placed directly under your skin or into a vein. Do not use more medicine than your doctor tells you to.

Your doctor or nurse will teach you how to prepare the medicine and how to use the pump for the infusion. Epoprostenol must be given continuously by a portable pump that is operated by a small computer. The medicine will be delivered directly to the heart through a catheter that will be inserted into a vein in the chest.

Epoprostenol should be reconstituted only with the sterile diluent (eg, pH 12 sterile diluent for Flolan®) that is supplied with this medicine. The reconstituted medicine should not be mixed with other solutions or medicines. Use the following procedure for reconstituting your daily supply:

During use, the mixed solution can be administered by the pump at room temperature for up to 24 hours if you mixed the entire vial with the 5 milliliter (mL) solution provided. If you are using a lower concentration, the mixture is only good for 12 hours. Protect the solution from direct sunlight.

Ask your doctor who to call if you have any problems with the infusion pump. You may be given a second infusion pump to have in case the first pump stops working. Make sure you have access to this pump as a backup at all times.

You will need to continue using this medicine for a long period of time, possibly for many years. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about this.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the concentration of the reconstituted medicine and the rate at which the infusion pump delivers the medicine.

Check the liquid in the vial. If the liquid has flakes or particles in it, or if the liquid is discolored or cloudy, do not use the vial.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed Dose

Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

Storage

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Store the medicine vial in the original carton at room temperature. Keep the carton away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze.

Store the mixed solution in the refrigerator for 5 days, away from direct light. Keep the medicine from freezing. Any medicine that has been frozen should be thrown away. Mixed solutions can be stored at room temperature (up to 25°C) for no more than 48 hours. Discard the mixed solution if it is kept in the refrigerator for more than 5 days or at room temperature for more than 48 hours.

Store the mixed solution in the refrigerator for up to 8 days, away from direct light. Do not freeze. Mixed solutions can be stored up to 3 days at 25°C, 2 days at 30°C, or up to 12 hours at 40°C. Throw away any mixture that has been refrigerated for more than 8 days.

Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.

Precautions while using Flolan

It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to make sure the medicine is working properly and to change the dosage if needed. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Report any signs of infection or reaction at the catheter site to your doctor right away. Also, if you develop a sudden fever, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Check with your doctor right away if you have blue lips and fingernails, chest pain, coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum, difficult, fast, or noisy breathing, increased sweating, pale skin, or swelling in the legs and ankles. These may be symptoms of pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs).

This medicine may increase your risk of bleeding. Be extra careful to avoid injuries. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Gently brush and floss your teeth. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.

Prepare this medicine exactly as directed. Do not add anything or use any substitutions when mixing the solution.

This medicine may cause your blood pressure to decrease. Check with your doctor right away if you have a feeling of warmth or heat, flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck, headache, feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheadedness, or sweating.

Do not suddenly stop using this medicine. Stopping or changing the dose of this medicine suddenly may bring on symptoms of your condition and can be dangerous. Check with your doctor before stopping or changing your dose.

Your doctor may want you to carry a medical identification card stating that you are using this medicine.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects of Flolan

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Less common

Incidence not known

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Less common

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

Available Dosage Forms:

Therapeutic Class: Peripheral Vasodilator

Pharmacologic Class: Prostaglandin

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.