Generic name: corticotropin [ KOR-ti-koe-TROE-pin ]
Brand names: Acthar Gel, H.P., Acthar, Acthar Gel, H.P., ... show all 8 brands ACTH Gel, ACTH-80, ACTH-40 HP
Dosage form: injectable solution (80 units/mL)
Drug class: Corticotropin
What is corticotropin?
Corticotropin is a hormone that is used to treat many different conditions such as multiple sclerosis, psoriatic or rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, severe allergic reactions, breathing disorders, and inflammatory conditions of the eyes.
Corticotropin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use corticotropin if you have a fungal infection, herpes infection of the eyes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, scleroderma, osteoporosis, adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease), a past or present stomach ulcer, congestive heart failure, recent surgery, if you are allergic to pork proteins, or if you are scheduled to receive a vaccine.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use corticotropin if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
a fungal infection anywhere in your body;
herpes infection of the eyes;
untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure;
adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease);
a past or present stomach ulcer;
congestive heart failure;
if you are allergic to pork proteins;
if you have recently had surgery; or
if you are scheduled to receive a vaccine.
Corticotropin can worsen an infection you already have, or reactivate an infection you recently had. Before using corticotropin, tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.
Corticotropin should not be used in a child younger than 2 who has an infection that was passed from the mother during pregnancy or childbirth.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
high blood pressure, heart problems;
a thyroid disorder;
a muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis;
glaucoma or cataracts;
depression or mental illness;
a stomach or intestinal disorder; or
a condition for which you take a diuretic or "water pill."
Corticotropin may harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
You should not breastfeed while using corticotropin.
Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.
How is corticotropin given?
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Corticotropin is injected into a muscle or under the skin. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.
Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand all instructions. Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it.
Your dose needs may change during times of stress, serious illness, surgery or medical emergency. Tell your doctor if any of these situations affect you. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor's advice.
Corticotropin doses are based on body surface area (height and weight). Your dose needs may change if you gain or lose weight or if you are still growing.
In some people, corticotropin can trigger an immune response to the medicine, making it less effective. Call your doctor if your condition gets worse or if it seems like this medicine does not work as well.
If you use this medicine long-term, you may need frequent medical tests, including bone scans to check for osteoporosis.
You should not stop using corticotropin suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.
Store in the refrigerator. Take the medication out of the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature before preparing your dose.
Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of corticotropin.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using corticotropin?
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using corticotropin. The vaccine may not work as well and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
Corticotropin side effects
Corticotropin may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:
fever, chills, sore throat, skin warmth or redness, or other signs of an infection;
unusual changes in mood or behavior;
blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights;
decreased or increased adrenal gland hormones--changes in weight or appetite, tiredness, muscle weakness, skin discoloration, thinning skin, increased body hair, menstrual changes, loss of appetite, stomach pain;
high blood pressure--severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears;
high blood sugar--increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor;
signs of eye infection--swelling, redness, severe discomfort, crusting or drainage; or
signs of stomach bleeding--bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Be sure your family, caregivers, and close friends also know how to help you watch for these side effects.
Corticotropin can affect growth in children. Tell your doctor if your child is not growing at a normal rate while using corticotropin.
Common side effects of corticotropin may include:
increased blood pressure;
thinning skin, increased sweating;
fluid retention (swelling in your hands or feet, puffiness in your face);
mood changes, irritability;
increased appetite; or
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.
What other drugs will affect corticotropin?
Other drugs may affect corticotropin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
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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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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