See CONTRAINDICATIONS for information on increased mortality in patients with acute critical illness due to complications following open heart surgery, abdominal surgery, or multiple accidental trauma, or those with acute respiratory failure. The safety of continuing somatropin treatment in patients receiving replacement doses for approved indications who concurrently develop these illnesses has not been established. Therefore, the potential benefit of treatment continuation with somatropin in patients experiencing acute critical illnesses should be weighed against the potential risk.
There have been reports of fatalities after initiating therapy with somatropin in pediatric patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome who had one or more of the following risk factors: severe obesity, history of upper airway obstruction or sleep apnea, or unidentified respiratory infection. Male patients with one or more of these factors may be at greater risk than females. Patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome should be evaluated for signs of upper airway obstruction and sleep apnea before initiation of treatment with somatropin. If, during treatment with somatropin, patients show signs of upper airway obstruction (including onset of or increased snoring) and/or new onset sleep apnea, treatment should be interrupted. All patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome treated with somatropin should also have effective weight control and be monitored for signs of respiratory infection, which should be diagnosed as early as possible and treated aggressively (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). Unless patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome also have a diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency, Accretropin™ (somatropin injection) is not indicated for the long-term treatment of pediatric patients who have growth failure due to genetically confirmed Prader-Willi Syndrome.
Treatment with Accretropin™ (somatropin injection) as with other growth hormone preparations, should be directed by physicians who are experienced in the diagnosis and management of pediatric patients with GHD and Turner Syndrome (TS).
Treatment with somatropin may decrease insulin sensitivity, particularly at higher doses in susceptible patients. As a result, previously undiagnosed impaired glucose tolerance and overt diabetes mellitus may be unmasked during somatropin treatment. Therefore, glucose levels should be monitored periodically in all patients treated with somatropin, especially in those with risk factors for diabetes mellitus, such as obesity (including obese patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome), Turner Syndrome, or a family history of diabetes mellitus. Patients with preexisting type-1 or type-2 diabetes mellitus or impaired glucose tolerance should be monitored closely during somatropin therapy. The doses of antihyperglycemic drugs (i.e., insulin or oral agents) may require adjustment when somatropin therapy is instituted in these patients.
Patients with preexisting tumors or growth hormone deficiency secondary to an intracranial lesion should be examined routinely for progression or recurrence of the underlying disease process. In pediatric patients, clinical literature has revealed no relationship between somatropin replacement therapy and central nervous system (CNS) tumor recurrence or new extracranial tumors. However, in childhood cancer survivors, an increased risk of a second neoplasm has been reported in patients treated with somatropin after their first neoplasm. Intracranial tumors, in particular meningiomas, in patients treated with radiation to the head for their first neoplasm, were the most common of these second neoplasms. In adults, it is unknown whether there is any relationship between somatropin replacement therapy and CNS tumor recurrence.
Intracranial hypertension (IH) with papilledema, visual changes, headache, nausea, and/or vomiting has been reported in a small number of patients treated with somatropin products. Symptoms usually occurred within the first eight (8) weeks after the initiation of somatropin therapy. In all reported cases, IH-associated signs and symptoms rapidly resolved after cessation of therapy or a reduction of the somatropin dose. Funduscopic examination should be performed routinely before initiating treatment with somatropin to exclude preexisting papilledema, and periodically during the course of somatropin therapy. If papilledema is observed by funduscopy during somatropin treatment, treatment should be stopped. If somatropin-induced IH is diagnosed, treatment with somatropin can be restarted at a lower dose after IH-associated signs and symptoms have resolved. Patients with Turner Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome, and chronic renal insufficiency may be at increased risk for the development of IH.
In patients with hypopituitarism (multiple hormone deficiencies), standard hormonal replacement therapy should be monitored closely when somatropin therapy is administered.
Undiagnosed/untreated hypothyroidism may prevent an optimal response to somatropin, in particular, the growth response in children. Patients with Turner Syndrome have an inherently increased risk of developing autoimmune thyroid disease and primary hypothyroidism. In patients with growth hormone deficiency, central (secondary) hypothyroidism may first become evident or worsen during somatropin treatment. Therefore, patients treated with somatropin should have periodic thyroid function tests and thyroid hormone replacement therapy should be initiated or appropriately adjusted when indicated.
As with any protein, local or systemic allergic reactions may occur. Parents/Patients should be informed that such reactions are possible and that prompt medical attention should be sought if allergic reactions occur.
(see PRECAUTIONS, General)
Slipped capital femoral epiphysis may occur more frequently in patients with endocrine disorders (including GHD and Turner Syndrome) or in patients undergoing rapid growth. Any pediatric patient with the onset of a limp or complaints of hip or knee pain during somatropin therapy should be carefully evaluated.
Progression of scoliosis can occur in patients who experience rapid growth. Because somatropin increases growth rate, patients with a history of scoliosis who are treated with somatropin should be monitored for progression of scoliosis. However, somatropin has not been shown to increase the occurrence of scoliosis. Skeletal abnormalities including scoliosis are commonly seen in untreated Turner Syndrome patients. Scoliosis is also commonly seen in untreated patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Physicians should be alert to these abnormalities, which may manifest during somatropin therapy.
Patients with Turner Syndrome should be evaluated carefully for otitis media and other ear disorders since these patients have an increased risk of ear and hearing disorders. Somatropin treatment may increase the occurrence of otitis media in patients with Turner Syndrome. In addition, patients with Turner Syndrome should be monitored closely for cardiovascular disorders (e.g., stroke, aortic aneurysm/dissection, hypertension).
The safety and effectiveness of Accretropin™ (somatropin injection) in adult patients have not been evaluated in clinical studies.
The safety and effectiveness of somatropin in patients aged 65 and over have not been evaluated in clinical studies.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Long-term animal studies for carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and impairment of fertility with Accretropin™ (somatropin injection) have not been performed.
Pregnancy Category C - Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Accretropin™ (somatropin injection) . It is not known whether Accretropin™ (somatropin injection) can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproductive capacity. Somatropin should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
There have been no studies conducted with Accretropin™ (somatropin injection) in nursing mothers. It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when somatropin is administered to a nursing woman.
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/8/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Accretropin Information
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