H.P. Acthar Gel can cause elevation of blood pressure, salt and water retention, and increased excretion of potassium and calcium. Dietary salt restriction and potassium supplementation may be necessary. Caution should be used in the treatment of patients with hypertension, congestive heart failure, or renal insufficiency.
Administration of live or live attenuated vaccines is contraindicated in patients receiving immunosuppressive doses of H.P. Acthar Gel. Killed or inactivated vaccines may be administered; however, the response to such vaccines can not be predicted. Other immunization procedures should be undertaken with caution in patients who are receiving H.P. Acthar Gel, especially when high doses are administered, because of the possible hazards of neurological complications and lack of antibody response.
H.P. Acthar Gel often acts by masking symptoms of other diseases/disorders without altering the course of the other disease/disorder. Patients should be monitored carefully during and for a period following discontinuation of therapy for signs of infection, abnormal cardiac function, hypertension, hyperglycemia, change in body weight and fecal blood loss.
H.P. Acthar Gel can cause GI bleeding and gastric ulcer. There is also an increased risk for perforation in patients with certain gastrointestinal disorders. Signs of gastrointestinal perforation, such as peritoneal irritation, may be masked by the therapy. Use caution where there is the possibility of impending perforation, abscess or other pyogenic infections, diverticulitis, fresh intestinal anastomoses, and active or latent peptic ulcer.
Use of H.P. Acthar Gel may be associated with central nervous system effects ranging from euphoria, insomnia, irritability (especially in infants), mood swings, personality changes, and severe depression, to frank psychotic manifestations. Also, existing emotional instability or psychotic tendencies may be aggravated.
Patients with a comorbid disease may have that disease worsened. Caution should be used when prescribing H.P. Acthar Gel in patients with diabetes and myasthenia gravis.
Prolonged use of H.P. Acthar Gel may produce posterior subcapsular cataracts, glaucoma with possible damage to the optic nerves and may enhance the establishment of secondary ocular infections due to fungi and viruses.
H.P. Acthar Gel is immunogenic. Limited available data suggest that a patient may develop antibodies to H.P. Acthar Gel after chronic administration and loss of endogenous ACTH and H.P. Acthar Gel activity. Prolonged administration of H.P. Acthar Gel may increase the risk of hypersensitivity reactions. Sensitivity to porcine protein should be considered before starting therapy and during the course of treatment should symptoms arise.
There is an enhanced effect in patients with hypothyroidism and in those with cirrhosis of the liver.
Long-term use of H.P. Acthar Gel may have negative effects on growth and physical development in children. Changes in appetite are seen with H.P. Acthar Gel therapy, with the effects becoming more frequent as the dose or treatment period increases. These effects are reversible once H.P. Acthar Gel therapy is stopped. Growth and physical development of pediatric patients on prolonged therapy should be carefully monitored.
Decrease in bone formation and an increase in bone resorption both through an effect on calcium regulation (i.e. decreasing absorption and increasing excretion) and inhibition of osteoblast function may occur. These, together with a decrease in the protein matrix of the bone (secondary to an increase in protein catabolism) and reduced sex hormone production, may lead to inhibition of bone growth in children and adolescents and to the development of osteoporosis at any age. Special consideration should be given to patients at increased risk of osteoporosis (i.e., postmenopausal women) before initiating therapy, and bone density should be monitored in patients on long term therapy.
H.P. Acthar Gel has been shown to have an embryocidal effect. Apprise women of potential harm to the fetus [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1) ].
Please refer to Adverse Reactions in Infants and Children Under 2 Years of Age (Section 6.1.1) for consideration when treating patients with Infantile Spasms. The adverse reactions presented in Section 6.2 are primarily provided for consideration in use in adults and in children over 2 years of age, but these adverse reactions should also be considered when treating infants and children under 2 years of age.
H.P. Acthar Gel causes the release of endogenous cortisol from the adrenal gland. Therefore all the adverse effects known to occur with elevated cortisol may occur with H.P. Acthar Gel administration as well. Common adverse reactions include fluid retention, alteration in glucose tolerance, elevation in blood pressure, behavioral and mood changes, increased appetite and weight gain.
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug, and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
While the types of adverse reactions seen in infants and children under age 2 treated for infantile spasms are similar to those seen in older patients, their frequency and severity may be different due to the very young age of the infant, the underlying disorder, the duration of therapy and the dosage regimen. Below is a summary of adverse reactions specifically tabulated from source data derived from retrospective chart reviews and clinical trials in children under 2 years of age treated for infantile spasms. The number of patients in controlled trials at the recommended dose was too few to provide meaningful incidence rates or to permit a meaningful comparison to the control groups.
|System Organ Class||Recommended75 U/m2 bidn=122, (%)||150 U/m2 qdn=37 (%)|
|* Specific infections that occurred at ≥ 2% were candidiasis, otitis media, pneumonia and upper respiratory tract infections.|
|† In the treatment of Infantile Spasms, other types of seizures/convulsions may occur because some patients with infantile spasms progress to other forms of seizures (for example, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome). Additionally, the spasms sometimes mask other seizures and once the spasms resolve after treatment, the other seizures may become visible.|
|General disorders and administration site conditions|
|Infections and infestations|
|Metabolism and nutrition disorders|
|Nervous system disorders|
|Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders|
|Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders|
These adverse reactions may also be seen in adults and children over 2 years of age when treated for other purposes and with different doses and regimens.
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