Macitentan for pulmonary arterial hypertension (Opsumit)

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Macitentan will be prescribed for you by a specialist doctor.

Take one 10 mg tablet each day. Swallow the tablet whole with a drink of water.

Common side-effects include respiratory infections and feeling tired or dizzy.

Type of medicineA vasodilator antihypertensive medicine
Used forPulmonary hypertension
Also calledOpsumit®
Available asTablets

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a condition where there is too high a blood pressure in the arteries which supply blood to your lungs from your heart. The arteries become narrowed so your heart has to work harder to pump blood to your lungs.

Macitentan relaxes the muscles in the walls of the arteries, allowing the blood vessels to become wider. This reduces the pressure in the arteries and allows blood to flow more easily through them. In turn, this increases the supply of blood to your lungs and improves your ability to do physical activities. Macitentan will be prescribed for you by a doctor who is a specialist.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking macitentan it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or if you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
  • If you have been told you have a reduced number of red blood cells (anaemia).
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breast-feeding.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, or if you are allergic to soya.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack, along with any information you have been given by your hospital. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about macitentan and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take macitentan exactly as your doctor tells you to. The usual dose is one 10 mg tablet daily. Try to take your doses at the same time of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take the tablets regularly.
  • Swallow the tablet whole with a drink of water. You can take macitentan either before or after food.
  • If you forget to take a dose at your usual time, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be checked. Your doctor will want you to have some blood tests both before and during your treatment. The tests will check that your liver is staying healthy.
  • Treatment with macitentan is usually long-term. Continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise.
  • If you buy any medicines 'over the counter', always check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. The herbal medicine called St John's wort can interfere with macitentan so you should not take preparations containing this ingredient.
  • If you are due to have an operation or some other medical treatment, it is important that you tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are on macitentan.
  • You must avoid getting pregnant while you are taking macitentan. If you could become pregnant, make sure you have discussed with your doctor which types of contraception are suitable for you and your partner.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with macitentan. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Very common macitentan side-effects (these affect more than 1 in 10 people)What can I do if I experience this?
Mouth, throat and chest infectionsIf troublesome, speak with your doctor for advice
HeadacheAsk your doctor or pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Feeling tired (due to anaemia)If troublesome, speak with your doctor for advice. Do not drive or use tools or machines while affected
Common macitentan side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling dizzyThis could be a symptom of your condition or a side-effect of using macitentan. If you begin to feel dizzy, sit or lie down for a few minutes so you do not faint, and then get up more slowly. Do not drive or use tools or machines while affected
Flu-like symptoms and urine infectionsIf troublesome, speak with your doctor for advice

Important: macitentan can affect the way your liver works. Your doctor will discuss this with you before you start the treatment but it is important that you tell your doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms: dark-coloured urine, feeling sick or unusually tired, tummy (abdominal) pain, itching, and yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes. These can be signs that your liver is being affected.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • Manufacturer's PIL, Opsumit® (macitentan) 10 mg; Actelion Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2015.
  • British National Formulary; 69th Edition (Mar 2015) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
29054 (v1)
Last Checked:
24/06/2015
Next Review:
23/06/2018
The Information Standard - certified member

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