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Prescription Medications

H.P. Acthar

H.P. ACTHAR — corticotropin injection
Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

1.1 Infantile spasms:

H.P. Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection) is indicated as monotherapy for the treatment of infantile spasms in infants and children under 2 years of age.

1.2 Multiple Sclerosis:

H.P. Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection) is indicated for the treatment of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis in adults. Controlled clinical trials have shown H.P. Acthar Gel to be effective in speeding the resolution of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis. However, there is no evidence that it affects the ultimate outcome or natural history of the disease.

1.3 Rheumatic Disorders:

As adjunctive therapy for short-term administration (to tide the patient over an acute episode or exacerbation) in: Psoriatic arthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (selected cases may require low-dose maintenance therapy), Ankylosing spondylitis.

1.4 Collagen Diseases:

During an exacerbation or as maintenance therapy in selected cases of: systemic lupus erythematosus, systemic dermatomyositis (polymyositis).

1.5 Dermatologic Diseases:

Severe erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome

1.6 Allergic States:

Serum sickness.

1.7 Ophthalmic Diseases:

Severe acute and chronic allergic and inflammatory processes involving the eye and its adnexa such as: keratitis; iritis, iridocyclitis, diffuse posterior uveitis and choroiditis, optic neuritis, chorioretinitis; anterior segment inflammation.

1.8 Respiratory Diseases:

Symptomatic sarcoidosis

1.9 Edematous State:

To induce a diuresis or a remission of proteinuria in the nephrotic syndrome without uremia of the idiopathic type or that due to lupus erythematosus.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 Specific Recommended Dosage Regimen for Infantile Spasms in Infants and Children Under 2 Years of Age

In the treatment of infantile spasms, H.P. Acthar Gel must be administered intramuscularly. The recommended regimen is a daily dose of 150 U/m2 (divided into twice daily intramuscular injections of 75 U/m2) administered over a 2-week period. Dosing with H.P. Acthar Gel should then be gradually tapered over a 2-week period to avoid adrenal insufficiency. The following is one suggested tapering schedule: 30 U/m2 in the morning for 3 days; 15 U/m2 in the morning for 3 days; 10 U/m2 in the morning for 3 days; and 10 U/m2 every other morning for 6-days. H.P. Acthar Gel is typically dosed based on body surface area (BSA). For calculation of body surface area, use the following formula

Body Suface Area Calculation
(click image for full-size original)

2.2 Recommended Dosage Regimen for the Treatment of Acute Exacerbations in Adults with Multiple Sclerosis.

The recommended dose is daily intramuscular or subcutaneous doses of 80-120 units for 2-3 weeks for acute exacerbations.

Dosage should be individualized according to the medical condition of each patient. Frequency and dose of the drug should be determined by considering the severity of the disease and the initial response of the patient.

Although drug dependence does not occur, sudden withdrawal of H.P. Acthar Gel after prolonged use may lead to adrenal insufficiency or recurrent symptoms which make it difficult to stop the treatment. It may be necessary to taper the dose and increase the injection interval to gradually discontinue the medication.

2.3 Recommended Dosage Regimen for Other Indications for Adults and Children Over 2 Years of Age

Dosage should be individualized according to the disease under treatment and the general medical condition of each patient. Frequency and dose of the drug should be determined by considering severity of the disease and the initial response of the patient.

The usual dose of H.P. Acthar Gel is 40-80 units given intramuscularly or subcutaneously every 24-72 hours.

Although drug dependence does not occur, sudden withdrawal of H.P. Acthar Gel after prolonged use may lead to adrenal insufficiency or recurrent symptoms which make it difficult to stop the treatment. It may be necessary to taper the dose and increase the injection interval to gradually discontinue the medication.

2.4 Preparation

H.P. Acthar Gel should be warmed to room temperature before using.

Caution should be taken not to over-pressurize the vial prior to withdrawing the product.

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

5 mL multi-dose vial containing 80 USP Units per mL.

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

H.P. Acthar Gel is contraindicated for intravenous administration.

H.P. Acthar Gel is contraindicated where congenital infections are suspected in infants.

Administration of live or live attenuated vaccines is contraindicated in patients receiving immunosuppressive doses of H.P Acthar Gel.

H.P. Acthar Gel is contraindicated in patients with scleroderma, osteoporosis, systemic fungal infections, ocular herpes simplex, recent surgery, history of or the presence of a peptic ulcer, congestive heart failure, uncontrolled hypertension, primary adrenocortical insufficiency, adrenocortical hyperfunction or sensitivity to proteins of porcine origin.

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

The adverse effects of H.P. Acthar Gel are related primarily to its steroidogenic effects. Not all of the adverse events described below have been seen after treatment with H.P. Acthar Gel, but might be expected to occur. [see Adverse Reactions (6.3) ].

5.1 Infections

H.P. Acthar Gel may increase the risks related to infections with any pathogen, including viral, bacterial fungal, protozoan or helminthic infections. Patients with latent tuberculosis or tuberculin reactivity should be observed closely, and if therapy is prolonged, chemoprophylaxis should be instituted.

5.2 Cushing’s Syndrome and Adrenal Insufficiency Upon Withdrawal

Treatment with H.P. Acthar Gel can cause hypothalamic-pituitary-axis (HPA) suppression and Cushing’s syndrome. These conditions should be monitored especially with chronic use.

Suppression of the HPA may occur following prolonged therapy with the potential for adrenal insufficiency after withdrawal of the medication. Patients should be monitored for signs of insufficiency such as weakness, hyperpigmentation, weight loss, hypotension and abdominal pain.

The symptoms of adrenal insufficiency in infants treated for infantile spasms can be difficult to identify. The symptoms are non-specific and may include anorexia, fatigue, lethargy, weakness, excessive weight loss, hypotension and abdominal pain. It is critical that parents and caregivers be made aware of the possibility of adrenal insufficiency when discontinuing H.P. Acthar Gel and should be instructed to observe for, and be able to recognize, these symptoms [see Information for Patients (17) ]

The recovery of the adrenal gland may take from days to months so patients should be protected from the stress (e.g. trauma or surgery) by the use of corticosteroids during the period of stress.

The adrenal insufficiency may be minimized in adults and infants by tapering of the dose when discontinuing treatment.

Signs or symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome may occur during therapy but generally resolve after therapy is stopped. Patients should be monitored for these signs and symptoms such as deposition of adipose tissue in characteristics sites (e.g., moon face, truncal obesity), cutaneous striae, easy bruisability, decreased bone mineralization, weight gain, muscle weakness, hyperglycemia, and hypertension.

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