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pegvisomant

Generic Name: pegvisomant (peg VIH so mant)
Brand Name: Somavert

What is pegvisomant?

Pegvisomant is a man-made protein that is similar to human growth hormone. Pegvisomant binds to the same receptor in the body as growth hormone, and blocks the effects of growth hormone.

Pegvisomant is used to treat acromegaly (a growth disorder caused by too much growth hormone).

Pegvisomant is usually given after other medications, surgery, or radiation have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms.

Pegvisomant may also be used for purposes not listed here.

What is the most important information I should know about pegvisomant?

You should not use pegvisomant if you are allergic to it.

Before using pegvisomant, tell your doctor if you have diabetes, liver disease, a latex allergy, or a tumor that secretes growth hormone.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, you may need blood tests and CT scans or other radiologic (x-ray) examinations during treatment. Visit your doctor regularly.

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Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially insulin or oral diabetes medication, or any narcotic medication.

Stop using pegvisomant and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, itching, swelling, rapid weight gain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking pegvisomant?

You should not use pegvisomant if you are allergic to it.

To make sure you can safely use pegvisomant, tell your doctor if you have other medical conditions, especially:

  • diabetes;

  • liver disease;

  • a latex allergy; or

  • a tumor that secretes growth hormone.

FDA pregnancy category B. Pegvisomant is not expected to harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether pegvisomant passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old without medical advice.

How should I take pegvisomant?

Use exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Use pegvisomant regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

Pegvisomant is injected under the skin. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

Pegvisomant is a powder medicine that must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.

Do not shake the medication bottle or you may ruin the medicine. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.

Use a different place on your stomach, thigh, buttocks, or upper arm each time you give the injection. Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject the medication. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

Each single-use vial (bottle) of this medicine is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in it after injecting your dose.

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 this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, you may need blood tests and CT scans or other radiologic (x-ray) examinations during treatment. Visit your doctor regularly.

This medication can cause unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using pegvisomant.

Store in the refrigerator, do not freeze.

You may store mixed medicine at room temperature, but you must use it within 6 hours after mixing.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

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

Overdose symptoms may include feeling very tired.

What should I avoid while taking pegvisomant?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Pegvisomant side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using pegvisomant and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • nausea, upper stomach pain, loss of appetite;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain; or

  • itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • pain;

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • mild nausea, diarrhea;

  • changes in the shape or location of body fat; or

  • pain, swelling, burning, or irritation where the medicine was injected.

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)

Pegvisomant Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose for Acromegaly:

Initial dose: 40 mg by subcutaneous injection.
Maintenance dose: 10 to 30 mg by subcutaneous injection daily.

What other drugs will affect pegvisomant?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • insulin or oral diabetes medication; or

  • a narcotic medication such as codeine (Tylenol #3), fentanyl (Abstral, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Lazanda, Onsolis), hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin, Vicoprofen), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Palladone), methadone (Methadose, Dolophine), morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Oramorph), oxycodone (OxyContin, Combunox, Roxicodone, Percocet), and many others.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with pegvisomant. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about pegvisomant.
  • 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.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01. Revision Date: 2012-09-12, 6:28:36 PM.

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