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Riociguat

Generic Name: riociguat (RYE oh SIG ue at)
Brand Name: Adempas

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Feb 15, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is riociguat?

Riociguat is used to treat chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) in people who cannot be treated with surgery, or in people who have undergone surgery but still have symptoms. Riociguat can treat certain symptoms of CTEPH and can improve your ability to exercise.

Riociguat is also used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Riociguat can improve your ability to exercise and help prevent PAH from getting worse.

Riociguat is available to women only under a special program. You must be registered in the program and understand the risks and benefits of riociguat.

Riociguat may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Riociguat can cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. You must use highly effective birth control while taking riociguat and for at least 1 month after your last dose. Do not have unprotected sex.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use riociguat if you are allergic to it, or if:

  • you are pregnant or might become pregnant during treatment; or

  • you have PAH related to a condition called idiopathic interstitial pneumonias (PH-IIP).

Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used with riociguat. Your doctor may change your treatment plan if you also use:

Do not take riociguat within 24 hours before or after taking sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra), or within 24 hours before or 48 hours after taking tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart disease, blood circulation problems;

  • low blood pressure;

  • a condition called pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD);

  • a cough with bloody mucus, or bleeding from your lung;

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis); or

  • if you smoke.

Do not use riociguat if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using riociguat and for at least 1 month after your treatment ends. Tell your doctor right away if you miss a menstrual period or think you may have become pregnant during treatment.

You will need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment. You will also be re-tested every month during your treatment, and 1 month after you stop taking this medicine. Do not have unprotected sex.

While taking riociguat, girls and women who are able to get pregnant must use highly effective birth control, or two methods together.

Even if you are not planning a pregnancy, you are considered able to become pregnant if:

  • you have entered puberty (even if you have not yet started having periods);

  • you have never had a hysterectomy or had your ovaries removed; or

  • you have not gone through menopause (you have never gone 12 months in a row without a menstrual period).

Riociguat comes with patient instructions about acceptable forms of birth control to use while taking this medicine. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Even if your sexual partner has had a vasectomy, you must still use a second method of birth control--either a barrier method or a hormonal form (birth control pills, injections, skin patch, or vaginal ring).

If you are the parent or caregiver of a female child taking this medication, talk to the child's doctor once you notice any signs of puberty (breast development or pubic hair), even if menstrual periods have not yet begun.

You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How should I take riociguat?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

You may take riociguat with or without food.

If you cannot swallow a tablet whole, you may crush the tablet and mix it with water or soft food (such as applesauce). Swallow the mixture right away without chewing. Do not save it for later use.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose and use your next dose at the regular time. Do not use two doses at one time.

Call your doctor if you miss your doses for 3 days in a row or longer.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking riociguat?

Do not have unprotected sex while taking riociguat. You must use birth control to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for at least 30 days after you stop taking riociguat.

Avoid taking an antacid within 1 hour before or 1 hour after you take riociguat. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb riociguat.

Smoking can make riociguat less effective. Tell your doctor if you start or stop smoking while you are taking this medicine. Your dose needs may need to be changed.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired. Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.

Riociguat side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using riociguat and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding, or any other unusual bleeding;

  • vomiting or coughing up bright red blood, or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;

  • low red blood cells (anemia)--pale skin, unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath, cold hands and feet; or

  • build-up of fluid in your lungs--anxiety, sweating, pale skin, severe shortness of breath, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus, chest pain, fast or uneven heart rate.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Riociguat dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Pulmonary Hypertension:

Initial dose: 1 mg orally 3 times a day
Maximum dose: 2.5 mg orally 3 times a day

Comments:
-For patients who cannot tolerate the hypotensive effect, consider a starting dose of 0.5 mg orally 3 times a day. If systolic blood pressure remains greater than 95 mmHg and the patient has no signs of hypotension, the dose may be titrated up by 0.5 mg orally 3 times a day.
-Dose increases should be no more frequent than every 2 weeks.

Uses:
-Persistent/recurrent chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) (WHO group 4) after surgical treatment or inoperable CTEPH to improve exercise capacity and WHO functional class.
-As monotherapy or in combination with endothelin receptor antagonists or prostanoids to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) (WHO group 1) to improve exercise capacity, improve WHO functional class and to delay clinical worsening.

What other drugs will affect riociguat?

Other drugs may affect riociguat, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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

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