Understanding Acromegaly Medications (cont.)
- How GH inhibitors work: These drugs decrease the effect of excessive growth hormone (GH) by blocking GH from binding to cell receptors.
- Who should not use these medications: Individuals allergic to GH inhibitors should not take them.
- Use: Pegvisomant is self-administered by daily subcutaneous (shallow injection under the skin) injections.
- Drug or food interactions: Pegvisomant may decrease insulin or oral antidiabetic drug effects. Individuals who take narcotic analgesics, such as morphine or codeine, may require higher doses of pegvisomant.
- Side effects: The drug container top contains latex. Pegvisomant may cause certain GH-secreting tumors to grow more readily. Additionally, this drug may induce GH deficiency and/or increase liver enzyme levels. GH levels must be monitored to help guide dose adjustments. Liver enzyme levels must also be monitored.
Arthur B Chausmer, MD, PhD, FACP, FACE, FACN, CNS
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD