HP Acthar

1 What is HP Acthar?

Brand: HP Acthar

Generic: Corticotropin

HP Acthar is the injectable form of Corticotropin used as a drug of choice in the management of infantile seizures.

In adults, it is used in:

  • Treatment of multiple sclerosis
  • Joint disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Eye problems
  • Allergies
  • Body swellings
  • Different diseases of the eye

It is a prescription drug available in the form of gel or jelly.

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2 What To Know Before Using

Before using HP Acthar, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it.

The patient is the authoritative figure when it comes to any medical procedure or any drug therapy. It is important for the patient to know all the details about the drug and then start using it.

Doctor also has a duty to bring out answers from the patient which play an important role in treatment like history, any allergy or any medical condition the patient has. For this purpose, it is important to have a detailed session between the patient and the physician before starting this drug to sort out all the details.

Detailed history of a patient is extremely important prior to any medical therapy and in this case, it is more likely that a drug be started after it.

  • Allergies or any history of allergy to any drug, food, preservatives, dyes or animal products; history of drug usage, past medical or surgical procedure should also be kept in record to predict any drug interaction.
  • Physical examination should be done before starting this drug so that any physiological or pathological condition by which this drug may interfere may be ruled out.
  • Age specific analysis is vital to have information about side effects of different age groups. There are not enough studies done in children and geriatric population to give information about usefulness and harms of this drug in this population. Similarly, there is also lack of extensive research in pregnant and breastfeeding women about this drug.
  • Drug interactions are the effects on the therapy or the condition for which the drug is used by other drugs used concomitantly. It is necessary that no drug be started without consulting a physician as another drug may cause alteration in the effect of this drug or its removal from the body. There are certain drugs which result in increase in interactions and hence these should be used with extreme care.
  • The use of this drug with live Rotavirus vaccine is contraindicated as it may lead to active infection. There are certain drugs which result in increase in drug interactions and the dose of either of these drugs can be decreased by the physician. Such drugs include Burpropion and Fluoroquinolones. Patient should also be counselled about effects of alcohol and tobacco on the patient as these may cause severe interactions.
  • Medical conditions, other than the condition for which this drug is used, may also affect working of the drug and cause harm. It is important for the patient to give detailed history, and important for the doctor to derive such details from the patient to avoid such circumstances. The conditions which may interact with this drug combination include:

3 Proper Usage

To use HP Acthar properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

Corticotropin is a prescription drug which is given by a nurse or a trained medical professional. Repository corticotropin can be given at home after getting training about the usage of drug by a trained medical professional. This medication comes with an instruction guide and should be read before initiation of therapy.

The injection of this drug must be given at different spots each time. Maintain good hygiene before application of this drug by washing hands properly and the area of the skin on which the drug has to be applied.

Drug vial is taken out of the refrigerator some time before application of drug to achieve room temperature. Use the dosage as prescribed by the doctor.

4 Precautions To Take

Before using HP Acthar, there are some precautions you must take. Precautions are the part and parcel of any treatment and patient must adhere to these to improve the outcome.

It is the duty of the doctor or any medical care provider to make the patient aware about these tips as an aid to the therapy.

  • Regular checkup is necessary to look for the progress of the treatment.
  • Blood tests can be done to check for side effects.
  • If the symptoms do not improve much, consult your doctor again.
  • Vaccination should be avoided in people receiving this drug and avoid contact with people receiving any vaccine.
  • Pregnant women should avoid taking this drug as this drug may harm the baby.
  • Reactivation of tuberculosis can occur by this drug. The patient should undergo a skin test to check for this disease. Family members should also be checked for better effect.
  • Avoid contact with people having active infection as this drug causes immune depression and increases risk of infections.
  • Consult your doctor if there are signs of a persistent illness.
  • Consult your doctor if there are any allergic reactions at the site of injection.
  • Adrenal gland problem (Cushing’s disease) may occur by use of this drug for a long term. Consult your doctor about this problem beforehand.
  • Symptoms of other diseases may get masked by use of this drug and it is important to have a detailed history of the patient prior to therapy.
  • Stomach and bowel problems may arise and any pre-existing condition may get aggravated by this drug. Consult your doctor in case of any abdominal discomfort.
  • Bone mineral density may decrease by use of this drug. Care should be taken to avoid any fall as a minor fall can lead to fracture.
  • Do not start any other drug, prescription or non-prescription, without consulting your physician.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with HP Acthar.

Some drugs are relatively safe for use while for some drugs, the patient should be cautious as these drugs may cause more harm than good.

Patient should always get medical help in case of any adverse effect, no matter how trivial it is.

Common side effects resulted by this drug include:

  • Backache
  • Blurred vision
  • Body aches
  • Pain chest
  • Pain
  • Cough
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Ear congestion
  • Earache
  • Facial hair growth in females
  • Fever with or without chills
  • Fractures
  • Full or round face
  • Neck, or trunk, headache
  • Increased thirst
  • Urination
  • Irritability
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Loss of voice
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Muscle wasting
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nervousness
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Redness or swelling in the ear
  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slow or fast heartbeat
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Troubled breathing
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Wheezing
  • White patches in the mouth or throat or on the tongue and white patches with diaper rash

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