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Corticotropin gel

Generic Name: corticotropin (core-tih-koe-TROE-pin)
Brand Name: HP Acthar

Corticotropin gel is used for:

Diagnosing adrenal gland function. It may be used to treat certain conditions caused by allergies; breathing, blood, or endocrine problems; arthritis; skin or eye problems; bowel inflammation; multiple sclerosis; or certain cancers. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Corticotropin gel is a hormone. It works by stimulating the body to produce more adrenocortical hormones (eg, corticosteroids, glucocorticoids).

Do NOT use corticotropin gel if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in corticotropin gel or to pork products
  • you have primary adrenocortical overactivity or underactivity
  • you have recently had surgery or trauma
  • you have certain skin problems (scleroderma), osteoporosis (weakened bones), a fungal infection, a herpes infection of the eye, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, or a history of stomach ulcers
  • you have recently had or are scheduled to have a smallpox vaccination

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using corticotropin gel:

Some medical conditions may interact with corticotropin gel. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have diabetes, glaucoma, diarrhea, an underactive thyroid, liver problems, kidney problems, diverticulitis (intestinal problem), myasthenia gravis, high blood sodium levels, low blood potassium levels, or a history of heart problems
  • if you have measles, tuberculosis (TB), a positive TB skin test, chickenpox, or shingles, or you have recently had or are planning to have a vaccination (especially for smallpox)

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with corticotropin gel. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Clarithromycin or itraconazole because the side effects of corticotropin gel may be increased
  • Ritodrine because the risk of severe breathing problems (pulmonary edema) may be increased
  • Aspirin, diuretics (eg, furosemide), or smallpox vaccine because side effects may be increased by corticotropin gel
  • Carbamazepine or live vaccines because effectiveness may be decreased by corticotropin gel

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if corticotropin gel may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use corticotropin gel:

Use corticotropin gel as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Corticotropin gel is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using corticotropin gel at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • Check with your doctor before using any medicines that contain aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
  • Warm corticotropin gel to room temperature before using.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of corticotropin gel, and you are using 1 dose every other day, use the missed dose the following morning. Then skip 1 day and go back to your regular dosing schedule of using a dose every other day. If you miss a dose of corticotropin gel, and you are using 1 or more doses each day, use it as soon as possible and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use corticotropin gel.

Important safety information:

  • Corticotropin gel may lower your body's ability to fight infection or illnesses, especially if you use it for an extended period of time. Prevent infection by avoiding contact with people with colds or other infections. If you are exposed to chickenpox, measles, or TB while taking corticotropin gel or during the 12 months after stopping corticotropin gel, call your doctor. Notify your doctor of any signs of infection, including fever, sore throat, pain during urination, muscle aches, rash, or chills for up to 12 months after stopping corticotropin gel.
  • Do not stop using corticotropin gel without first checking with your doctor. Serious side effects may occur if you suddenly stop using corticotropin gel.
  • Long-term use of corticotropin gel may cause eye problems, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and optic nerve damage. Do not use corticotropin gel for longer than prescribed. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any changes in your vision.
  • Check with your doctor before having any vaccinations, especially for smallpox, while you are using corticotropin gel.
  • Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using corticotropin gel.
  • Diabetes patients - Corticotropin gel may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely and ask your doctor before adjusting the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • LAB TESTS, including blood electrolytes, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use corticotropin gel with extreme caution in CHILDREN because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Corticotropin gel may affect growth rate in CHILDREN and adolescents in some instances. Your child's growth may need to be checked regularly while using corticotropin gel.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while taking corticotropin gel, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using corticotropin gel during pregnancy. It is unknown if corticotropin gel is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking corticotropin gel.

If you suddenly stop taking corticotropin gel, you may experience WITHDRAWAL symptoms, including worsening of symptoms of the problem being treated.

Possible side effects of corticotropin gel:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Acne; changes in appetite; constipation; diarrhea; difficulty sleeping; headache; heartburn; nausea; restlessness; sweating; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in mood; changes in vision; fever or chills; muscle pain or weakness; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; seizures; slow wound healing; sore throat.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of corticotropin gel:

Store corticotropin gel in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep corticotropin gel out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about corticotropin gel, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Corticotropin gel is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take corticotropin gel or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about corticotropin gel. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to corticotropin gel. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using corticotropin gel.

Issue Date: December 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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