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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Acthar Gel, H.P.

Generic Name: corticotropin (Pronunciation: KOR ti koe TROE pin)

What is corticotropin (Acthar Gel, H.P.)?

Corticotropin is a man-made form of a hormone that occurs naturally in the body.

Corticotropin is used as part of a medical test to check the functioning of your adrenal glands.

Corticotropin is also used to treat many different conditions such as allergic disorders, psoriasis and other skin conditions, eye conditions, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, breathing disorders, and many others.

Corticotropin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Corticotropin can reduce the symptoms of many disorders, but it is not considered a cure for these conditions. Corticotropin is also not expected to slow the progress of any disease.

What are the possible side effects of corticotropin (Acthar Gel, H.P.)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • problems with your vision;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath;
  • severe depression, unusual thoughts or behavior, seizure (convulsions);
  • bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood;
  • pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate);
  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling); or
  • dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mood changes;
  • acne, dry skin, thinning skin, bruising or discoloration;
  • slow wound healing;
  • increased sweating;
  • headache, dizziness, spinning sensation;
  • upset stomach; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about corticotropin (Acthar Gel, H.P.)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to corticotropin, or if you have adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease), scleroderma, a fungal infection, herpes infection of the eyes, osteoporosis, a stomach ulcer, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, recent surgery, or if you are allergic to pork.

Before using corticotropin, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, and about all other medicines you are using. There are many other diseases that can be affected by corticotropin.

Your medication needs may change if you have any unusual stress such as a serious illness, fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency. Tell your doctor about any such situation that affects you during treatment.

Do not receive a smallpox vaccine or any "live" vaccine while you are using corticotropin. Vaccines may not work as well while you are using corticotropin.

Corticotropin can reduce the symptoms of many disorders, but it is not considered a cure for these conditions. Corticotropin is also not expected to slow the progress of any disease.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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