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Acute Critical Illness
Increased mortality in patients with acute critical illnesses due to complications following openheart 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 patient shaving acute critical illnesses should be weighed against the potential risk.
Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) in Children
There have been reports of fatalities after initiating therapy with somatropin in pediatric patients with PWS 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 PWS 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 PWS 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]. Nutropin is not indicated for the treatment of pediatric patients who have growth failure due to genetically confirmed PWS.
Patients with preexisting tumors or growth hormone deficiency (GHD) 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.
Patients should be monitored carefully for any malignant transformation of skin lesions.
Glucose Intolerance and Diabetes Mellitus
Treatment with somatropin may decrease insulin sensitivity, particularly at higher doses insusceptible patients. As a result, previously undiagnosed impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and overt diabetes mellitus may be unmasked during somatropin treatment, 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, such as obesity, Turner syndrome (TS), or a family history of diabetes mellitus. Patients with preexisting type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus or IGT 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 therapyor 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 TS, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and PWS may be at increased risk for the development of IH.
Fluid retention during somatropin replacement therapy in adults may occur. Clinical manifestations of fluid retention are usually transient and dose dependent.
Patients with hypopituitarism (multiple 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 TS 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.
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) in Pediatric Patients
SCFE may occur more frequently in patients with endocrine disorders (including GHD and TS) 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 TS patients. Scoliosis is also commonly seen in untreated patients with PWS. 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 TS should be evaluated carefully for otitis media and other ear disorders, as the sepatients have an increased risk of ear and hearing disorders. Somatropin treatment may increase the occurrence of otitis media in patients with TS. In addition, patients with TS should be monitored closely for cardiovascular disorders (e.g., hypertension, aortic aneurysm or dissection, stroke) as these patients are also at increased risk for these conditions.
Chronic Kidney Disease in Pediatric Patients
Children with growth failure secondary to CKD should be examined periodically for evidence of progression of renal osteodystrophy. SCFE or avascular necrosis of the femoral head may be seen in children with advanced renal osteodystrophy, and it is uncertain whether these problems are affected by somatropin therapy. X-rays of the hip should be obtained prior to initiating somatropin therapy in CKD patients and physicians and parents should be alert to the development of a limp or complaints of hip or knee pain in these patients treated with Nutropin. No studies have been completed evaluating Nutropin therapy in patients who have received renal transplants. Currently, treatment of patients with functioning renal allografts is not indicated.
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 TS 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.
Benzyl alcohol, a component of this product, has been associated with serious adverse events and death, particularly in pediatric patients. The “gasping syndrome,” (characterized by central nervous system depression, metabolic acidosis, gasping respirations, and high levels of benzyl alcohol and its metabolites found in the blood and urine) has been associated with benzyl alcohol dosages >99 mg/kg/day in neonates and low-birth weight neonates. Additional symptoms may include gradual neurological deterioration, seizures, intracranial hemorrhage, hematologic abnormalities, skin breakdown, hepatic and renal failure, hypotension, bradycardia, and cardiovascular collapse. Practitioners administering this and other medications containing benzyl alcohol should consider the combined daily metabolic load of benzyl alcohol from all sources.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, and reproduction studies have not been conducted with Nutropin.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C. Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Nutropin. It is also not known whether Nutropin can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Nutropin should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.
There have been no studies conducted with Nutropin in nursing mothers. It is not known whether Nutropin is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when Nutropin is administered to a nursing mother.
Clinical studies of Nutropin did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. 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].
No studies have been conducted for Nutropin in patients with hepatic impairment. [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
No gender-specific pharmacokinetic studies have been done with Nutropin. The available literature indicates that the pharmacokinetics of somatropin are similar in men and women.
Last reviewed on RxList: 5/25/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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