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Details with Side Effects
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 amounts 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]. Norditropin is not indicated for the treatment of pediatric patients who have growth failure due to genetically confirmed Prader-Willi syndrome.
Patients with preexisting tumors or GHD secondary to an intracranial lesion should be monitored 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.
Impaired Glucose Tolerance 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 during somatropin treatment. New onset type 2 Diabetes Mellitus has been reported in patients. 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 (i.e., insulin or oral/injectable 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.
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 GHD, 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.
In patients with hypopituitarism (multiple hormone deficiencies), standard hormonal replacement therapy should be monitored closely when somatropin therapy is administered.
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis in Pediatric Patients
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 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 and Noonan 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 Turner Syndrome
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) as these patients are also at risk for these conditions.
Confirmation of Childhood Onset Adult GHD
Patients with epiphyseal closure who were treated with somatropin replacement therapy in childhood should be reevaluated according to the criteria in Indications and Usage (1.2) before continuation of somatropin therapy at the reduced dose level recommended for GH deficient adults.
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.
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 persistent severe abdominal pain.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling.
Patients being treated with Norditropin FlexPro or Norditropin NordiFlex prefilled pens, (and/or their parents) should be informed about the potential risks and benefits associated with somatropin treatment [in particular, see ADVERSE REACTIONS, for a listing of the most serious and/or most frequently observed adverse reactions associated with somatropin treatment in children and adults]. This information is intended to better educate patients (and caregivers); it is not a disclosure of all possible adverse or intended effects. Patients and caregivers who will administer Norditropin FlexPro or Norditropin NordiFlex prefilled pens, should receive appropriate training and instruction on proper use from the physician or other suitably qualified health care professional. A puncture-resistant container for the disposal of used needles 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. This information is intended to aid in the safe and effective administration of the medication.
If patients are prescribed Norditropin FlexPro or Norditropin NordiFlex, physicians should instruct patients to read the PATIENT INFORMATION and INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE leaflets provided with the Norditropin FlexPro and Norditropin NordiFlex prefilled pens.
Never Share a Norditropin Pen Between Patients
Counsel patients that they should never share a Norditropin pen with another person, even if the needle is changed. Sharing of the pen between patients may pose a risk of transmission of infection.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and fertility studies have not been conducted with Norditropin.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Norditropin. It is not known whether Norditropin can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproductive capacity. Norditropin should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
It is not known whether Norditropin is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when Norditropin is administered to a nursing woman.
The safety and effectiveness of Norditropin in patients aged 65 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 develop adverse reactions. A lower starting dose and smaller dose increments should be considered for older patients [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/29/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Norditropin Information
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