Generic Name: mecasermin (ME ka SER min)
Brand Names: Increlex
What is Increlex?
Increlex is a man-made form of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a substance that is normally produced in the body. IGF-1 is important for the growth of bones and muscles.
Increlex is used to treat growth failure in children whose bodies do not make enough IGF-1 or with growth hormone (GH) gene deletion who have developed neutralizing antibodies to GH.
Increlex may also be used for other purposes not listed here.
Your child should not receive Increlex if he or she is allergic to mecasermin, or if the child has cancer or has finished growing and his or her bone growth plates are closed. Increlex is not for use in children who have growth hormone deficiency, malnutrition, underactive thyroid, or those who are taking long-term steroid medications.
Before your child receives Increlex, tell the doctor if your child has diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, a curved spine (scoliosis), or if the child has ever had an allergic reaction to a preservative called benzyl alcohol.
Increlex s injected under the skin. You and your child may be shown how to use injections at home. Make sure you fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Do not give this medication as an IV injection directly into a vein. Use a different place on your child's upper arm, thigh, stomach, or buttocks each time you give your child a Increlex injection.
Give the Increlex injection 20 minutes before or after the child eats a meal or snack. Skip the dose if the child's meal or snack will be missed. Increlex can cause low blood sugar, which may be worse if the child does not eat before or after the injection.
Call your doctor at once if your child has a serious side effect such as blurred vision, headache or pain behind the eyes (sometimes with vomiting), pain in the hip or knee, walking with a limp, seizures, or swollen tonsils (snoring, breathing problems during sleep, ear pain, feeling of fullness in the ears, muffled hearing). Increlex can cause side effects that may impair thinking, reactions, or physical abilities. The child should avoid driving or doing anything else that requires alertness or coordination for the first 2 or 3 hours after a Increlex injection.
Take care not to let your child's blood sugar get too low while using Increlex. Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them
Before using Increlex
Your child should not use Increlex if he or she is allergic to mecasermin, or if the child has cancer or has finished growing and his or her bone growth plates are closed. Increlex is not for use in children who have growth hormone deficiency, malnutrition, underactive thyroid, or those who are taking long-term steroid medications.
To make sure your child can safely use Increlex, tell your doctor if the child has other medical conditions, especially:
a curved spine (scoliosis); or
a history of allergic reaction to a preservative called benzyl alcohol.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Increlex will harm an unborn baby. This medication should not be used during pregnancy. It is not known whether mecasermin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using Increlex.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
How is Increlex given?
Increlex is injected under the skin. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not use this medicine at home if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Do not give this medication as an IV injection directly into a vein.
Use a different place on your child's upper arm, thigh, stomach, or buttocks each time you give your child a Increlex injection. Your care provider will show you the places on your child's body where you can safely inject the medication. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.
Your doctor may occasionally change your child's dose to make sure your child gets the best results from this medication. The doctor may also want you to check the child's blood sugar before meals until the correct dose is determined.
Increlex is usually given twice per day. Give the Increlex injection 20 minutes before or after the child eats a meal or snack. Skip the dose if the child's meal or snack will be missed. Increlex can cause low blood sugar, which may be worse if the child does not eat before or after the injection.
Take care not to let your child's blood sugar get too low while using Increlex. Know the signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and how to recognize them:
hunger, weakness, nausea, irritability, tremors;
drowsiness, dizziness, headache, blurred vision;
confusion, trouble concentrating;
sweating, fast heartbeat;
seizure (convulsions); or
fainting, coma (severe hypoglycemia can be fatal).
Always keep a source of sugar available in case your child has symptoms of low blood sugar. Sugar sources include orange juice, glucose gel, candy, or milk. If your child has severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink, use an injection of glucagon. Your doctor can give you a prescription for a glucagon emergency injection kit and tell you how to give the injection.
Call your doctor if hypoglycemia symptoms do not get better after eating or drinking a sugar source.
Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
To be sure Increlex is not causing harmful effects, your child will need to be checked on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.
Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.
Store new unopened vials (bottles) of Increlex in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Throw away any Increlex that has become frozen.
Once you have opened a vial and started using it, the medication will keep for up to 30 days if stored in the refrigerator.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Be sure the child receives a meal or snack either 20 minutes before or after the injection. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of Increlex can cause hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of severe hypoglycemia include extreme weakness, blurred vision, sweating, trouble speaking, tremors, stomach pain, confusion, seizure (convulsions), or coma.
What should I avoid?
Increlex can cause side effects that may impair thinking, reactions, or physical abilities. The child should avoid driving or doing anything else that requires alertness or coordination for the first 2 or 3 hours after a Increlex injection.
Increlex side effects
Get emergency medical help if your child has any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Increlex: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your child's face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if your child has a serious side effect such as:
blurred vision, severe headache or pain behind the eyes, sometimes with vomiting;
pain in the hip or knee, walking with a limp;
seizure (convulsions); or
swollen tonsils - snoring, breathing problems during sleep, pain or fullness in your ear, hearing problems.
Less serious Increlex side effects may include:
thickening of facial skin;
easy bruising; or
pain, redness, bruising, or skin changes where the injection was given.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Increlex?
Tell your doctor about all other medications your child uses, especially insulin or diabetes medications your child takes by mouth.
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Increlex. Tell your doctor about all medications your child uses. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
More about Increlex (mecasermin)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Increlex.
- 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.
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