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Acute Critical Illness
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 has been reported after treatment with pharmacologic doses of somatropin [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. 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.
Prader-Willi Syndrome In Children
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]. Humatrope is not indicated for the treatment of pediatric patients who have growth failure due to genetically confirmed Prader-Willi syndrome.
In childhood cancer survivors who were treated with radiation to the brain/head for their first neoplasm and who developed subsequent GH deficiency and were treated with somatropin, an increased risk of a second neoplasm has been reported. Intracranial tumors, in particular meningiomas, 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 [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Monitor all patients receiving somatropin therapy who have a history of GH deficiency secondary to an intracranial neoplasm for progression or recurrence of the tumor.
Because children with certain rare genetic causes of short stature have an increased risk of developing malignancies, practitioners should thoroughly consider the risks and benefits of starting somatropin in these patients. If treatment with somatropin is initiated, these patients should be carefully monitored for development of neoplasms.
Glucose Intolerance And Diabetes Mellitus
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, and new onset type 2 diabetes mellitus has been reported in patients taking somatropin. 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, 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 (e.g., insulin or oral agents) may require adjustment when somatropin therapy is instituted in these patients.
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 may be at increased risk for the development of IH.
Fluid retention during somatropin replacement therapy in adults may frequently occur. Clinical manifestations of fluid retention are usually transient and dose dependent.
Patients with hypopituitarism (multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies) should have their other hormonal replacement treatments closely monitored during somatropin treatment.
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 GH deficiency, central (secondary) hypothyroidism may first become evident or worsen during somatropin treatment. Therefore, patients treated with somatropin should have periodic thyroid function tests performed, and thyroid hormone replacement therapy should be initiated or appropriately adjusted when indicated.
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis In Pediatric Patients
Slipped capital femoral epiphysis may occur more frequently in patients with endocrine disorders (including pediatric GH deficiency 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 Preexisting Scoliosis In Pediatric Patients
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 patients with Turner syndrome. 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.
Otitis Media And Cardiovascular Disorders In Patients With Turner Syndrome
Patients with Turner syndrome should be evaluated carefully for otitis media and other ear disorders, as 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., hypertension, aortic aneurysm or dissection, stroke) as patients with Turner syndrome are also at increased risk for these conditions.
Cases of pancreatitis have been reported rarely in children and adults receiving somatropin treatment, with some evidence supporting a greater risk in children compared with adults. Published literature indicates that girls who have Turner syndrome may be at greater risk than other somatropin-treated children. Pancreatitis should be considered in any somatropin-treated patient, especially a child, who develops abdominal pain.
Local And Systemic Reactions
When somatropin is administered subcutaneously at the same site over a long period of time, tissue atrophy may result. This can be avoided by rotating the injection site [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. 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.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling.
Patients being treated with Humatrope (and/or their parents) should be informed about the potential benefits and risks associated with Humatrope treatment, and the contents of the Patient Information Insert should be reviewed. This information is intended to educate patients (and caregivers); it is not a disclosure of all possible intended or adverse effects.
Patients and caregivers who will administer Humatrope should receive appropriate training and instruction on the proper use of Humatrope from the physician or other suitably qualified health care professional. A puncture-resistant container for the disposal of used needles and syringes should be strongly recommended. Patients and/or parents should be thoroughly instructed in the importance of proper disposal, and cautioned against any reuse of needles and syringes. This information is intended to aid in the safe and effective administration of the medication.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
There has been no evidence to date of Humatrope-induced mutagenicity. No long-term animal studies for carcinogenicity or impairment of fertility with somatropin have been performed.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Humatrope. It is not known whether Humatrope can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproductive capacity. Humatrope should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
There have been no studies conducted with Humatrope 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 Humatrope is administered to a nursing woman.
The safety and effectiveness of Humatrope in patients aged 65 years and over has not been evaluated in clinical studies. Elderly patients may be more sensitive to the action of somatropin, and therefore may be more prone to development of adverse reactions. A lower starting dose and smaller dose increments should be considered for older patients [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/11/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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