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Updated January 2023
Iloprost is a prostaglandin analogue or synthetic prostaglandin. Prostaglandins are hormone like substances found within the body and have many functions. One of the functions is to allow blood vessels to dilate.
Iloprost is used in conditions such as scleroderma where there may be very poor blood flow to the fingers resulting in ulcers and sometimes gangrene of the fingers. Iloprost enables the small vessels to widen and allow increased blood flow.
Iloprost works quickly to improve circulation but can take up to 6 weeks to see the full effect.
If you stop iloprost for any reason you must contact your doctor.
Iloprost is given intravenously. A small needle is inserted into a vein and the medication is infused. It is given over 6 hours for 3-5 days. Some hospitals may also give this medication over a 24 hour period as an inpatient.
Iloprost is usually given gradually and the rate of infusion can be changed if side effects occur.
For infusions the dose is based on the person’s weight, so each person's dose may be different.
The recommended dosage varies between 1.5-2ng/kg/min dependent on the patient’s tolerance.
Always discuss what medications you are taking, including any over the counter medications with your doctor.
Iloprost may increase the blood pressure lowering effect of anti-hypertensive medications eg, calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors. If low blood pressure occurs this may be managed with reducing the iloprost infusion rate or temporarily with holding anti-hypertensives on the day of your infusion. It is very important to discuss this with your doctor.
Iloprost can increase the risk of bleeding by inhibiting the function of platelets. Patients taking blood thinning agents such as warfarin or other inhibitors of platelet function will need to discuss their use prior to infusion.
You might experience side effects with your treatment. Contact your doctor if you have any concerns about possible side effects.
You will be closely monitored during the infusion for side effects. The iloprost infusion can be slowed or ceased for a period of time if required. Medications to help with common side effects such as nausea and headache can be given.
Iloprost side effects cease rapidly with stopping the infusion.
Common possible side effects include:
Less common or rare possible side effects include:
Precautions with other diseases
Iloprost infusions may need to be delayed in the following circumstances but it is best to be discussed between the treating rheumatologist and the patient.
Use with other medicines
More information is available on Vaccinations in Rhematology and COVID-19 vaccination.
Use with alcohol
Use in pregnancy and when breastfeeding