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Valtropin Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Valtropin (somatropin rDNA origin for injection) is a form of a hormone used in patients who have growth failure due to inadequate secretion of endogenous growth hormone, and for the treatment of growth failure associated with Turner syndrome in patients who have open growth plates (epiphyses). Valtropin is also used in adults for replacement of endogenous growth hormone. Common side effects of Valtropin include:
- respiratory tract infection
- sore throat
- ear infection
- swelling of the extremities
- runny or stuffy nose
- flu, and
- injection site pain
The Valtropin dosage and administration schedule is individualized for each patient. Valtropin may interact with corticosteroids, sex steroids, anticonvulsants, cyclosporine, oral estrogen replacement, insulin or oral diabetes medications. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before using Valtropin. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Our Valtropin (somatropin rDNA origin for injection) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Valtropin FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
Pediatric Patients With GHD
In a clinical study in which Valtropin (somatropin injection) ® 0.053mg/kg/day (vs. the same dose of an active somatropin control) was administered to 98 children with GHD for 12 months, the following adverse events were seen most frequently (≥5.0% in either treatment group): headache, pyrexia, cough, respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, vomiting and pharyngitis (see Table 7). The incidence of all of these adverse events were similar in the 2 treatment groups, and these adverse events reflect very common pediatric illnesses.
Adverse Events Observed In Children With GHD Treated with Valtropin (somatropin injection) ® vs. Comparator for 12 Months
| Adverse events
(Incidence ≥5.0% in either group)
|Headache||10 (10.2%)||8 (16.3%)|
|Pyrexia||9 (9.2%)||8 (16.3%)|
|Cough||5 (5.1%)||3 (6.1%)|
|Respiratory tract infection (NOS)*||5 (5.1%)||1 (2.0%)|
|Diarrhea||3 (3.1%)||4 (8.2%)|
|Vomiting||4 (4.1%)||4 (8.2%)|
|Pharyngitis||3 (3.1%)||4 (8.2%)|
| n = number of patients
* NOS = not otherwise specified
During this study, a very modest degree of glucose intolerance was observed in the 98 patients treated with Valtropin (somatropin injection) ® for 12 months (which was comparable to that observed in the comparator group). No de novo cases of overt diabetes mellitus were diagnosed. See PRECAUTIONS, General regarding somatropin-induced glucose intolerance.
Out of 98 patients with pediatric GHD randomized to treatment with Valtropin (somatropin injection) ® in the pivotal study described above, 26 (26.5%) had preexisting central hypothyroidism. Exacerbation of this preexisting central hypothyroidism appeared to be common. During 12 months of Valtropin (somatropin injection) ® treatment, 18 out of these 26 patients (~69%) with preexisting central hypothyroidism (who were being treated with a thyroxine preparation prior to study entry) required up-titration of their thyroxine replacement dose (primarily based on declining levels of free T4). On the other hand, none of the 72 patients without preexisting central hypothyroidism manifested de novo central hypothyroidism while on-study. See PRECAUTIONS, DRUG INTERACTIONS.
The 1 patient with preexisting central hypoadrenalism enrolled in this study required a slight increase in her maintenance hydrocortisone replacement dose after treatment with Valtropin (somatropin injection) ®, possibly compatible with somatropin-induced exacerbation of preexisting central hypoadrenalism. None of the remaining 97 patients without preexisting central hypoadrenalism manifested de novo central hypoadrenalism while on-study. See PRECAUTIONS, DRUG INTERACTIONS.
In addition, during the clinical trial described above, low titer anti-rhGH antibodies* were reported in 3 patients treated with Valtropin (somatropin injection) ® (vs. 1 patient treated with the comparator), and low titer anti-host cell protein antibodies were observed in 2 patients treated with Valtropin (somatropin injection) ®. These antibodies appeared after 6 months of treatment, disappeared after 12 months of treatment, and did not attenuate the growth response of these children.
*As with all protein pharmaceuticals, a small percentage of patients may develop antibodies to the protein. Anti-growth hormone antibodies with binding capacity lower than 2 mg/L have not been associated growth attenuation. In some patients, when binding capacity was greater than 2 mg/L, interference with growth response was observed in published data. Any patient with well documented pediatric GHD who fails to respond to Valtropin (somatropin injection) ® therapy should be tested for neutralizing antibodies to rhGH and undergo a careful evaluation to rule out other causes of growth failure (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
In published literature, leukemia has been reported in a small number of pediatric GHD patients treated with somatropin. It is uncertain whether this increased risk is related to the pathology of GHD itself, somatropin therapy, or other associated treatments such as radiation therapy for intracranial tumors. So far, epidemiological data have failed to confirm the hypothesis of a relationship between somatropin therapy and leukemia.
Pediatric Patients With Turner Syndrome
TS children with short stature were treated with 0.37 mg/kg/week of Valtropin (somatropin injection) ® (5 mg = 15 IU formulation) (n=30) and 0.33 mg/kg/week of Eutropin™ INJ (1.33 mg = 4 IU formulation qualitatively identical to Valtropin (somatropin injection) ®) (n=60) during Study 1 and Study 2, respectively. Adverse events were reported by 10 (33.3%) children during Study 1. Most of these adverse events reflect very common pediatric illnesses. The most frequently (≥1.0%) reported adverse events were respiratory tract infections and ear infections (see Table 8). Turner syndrome patients are more prone to ear disorders and treatment with somatropin may increase the occurrence of these problems. One patient developed low titer antibodies to rhGH, and one other patient developed low titer anti-yeast antibodies which proved to be transient. During Study 2, a similar pattern of adverse events was observed (data not shown). Two patients developed low titer anti-rhGH antibodies at Month 12. Of interest, there were no reports in either study of benign intracranial hypertension, aggravation of preexisting scoliosis, slipped capital femoral epiphysis and hypertension. Somatropin-induced glucose intolerance will be discussed separately in the next paragraph. All patients with reported adverse events recovered during continued treatment.
Adverse Events Observed In Children
With Turner Syndrome Treated with Valtropin (somatropin injection) ® for 12 Months
| Adverse Events
|Respiratory tract infection (NOS)*||4||13.3|
|Ear infection (NOS)||2||6.7|
|Otitis media (NOS)||1||3.3|
|Anti-rhGH antibody positive||1||3.3|
|Anti-yeast antibody positive||1||3.3|
|Respiratory tract infection viral (NOS)*||1||3.3|
|Injection site pain||1||3.3|
| n = number of patients
*NOS = not otherwise specified
During Study 1, a modest degree of glucose intolerance was observed in the 30 patients treated with Eutropin™ INJ for 12 months. No de novo cases of overt diabetes mellitus were diagnosed.
On the other hand, during Study 2, a much greater amount of glucose intolerance was observed: a) 3 patients (with normal fasting blood glucose [FBG] values at baseline [<100 mg/dL]) had FBG values between 130 and 145 mg/dL at Month 12 as well as at other study time points and (given the absence of follow-up data after study termination) may have developed somatropin-induced de novo diabetes mellitus; and b) 16 out of 41 patients (with normal FBG values at baseline) had FBG values between 100-126 mg/dL at Month 12 (and 3 of these 16 patients had FBG values >126 mg/dL transiently during the study). Since the amount of somatropin administered in Study 2 (0.33 mg/kg/week) was slightly less than the amount administered in Study 1 (0.37 mg/kg/week), these findings are difficult to interpret. It is possible that some of these patients were not actually fasting when blood samples were taken. See PRECAUTIONS (General) regarding the well known potential of somatropin drug products to cause or unmask glucose intolerance, especially in patients at greater inherent risk for diabetes mellitus, i.e. patients with Turner syndrome.
Adult Patients With GHD
Adult GHD patients were treated with Eutropin™ INJ (1.33 mg = 4 IU formulation; qualitatively identical to Valtropin (somatropin injection) ®, a 5 mg = 15 IU formulation) vs. placebo during the pivotal clinical study. Ninety two patients received at least 3 months of treatment with Eutropin™ INJ (31 of these patients were treated with Eutropin™ INJ for an additional 3 months), and 61 patients received 3 months of treatment with placebo. Adverse events with an incidence of ≥5.0% are presented in Table 9.
The most frequent adverse event during treatment with Eutropin™ INJ was edema, which was reported more frequently than during placebo treatment. In some of these patients, edema resulted in down-titration of the dose of Eutropin™ INJ as per protocol. Myalgia was reported by 2 patients receiving Eutropin™ INJ and 2 patients treated with placebo. Arthralgia was reported by 2 patients receiving Eutropin™ INJ. There were no reports of carpal tunnel syndrome. These types of adverse events are thought to be related to the fluid accumulating effects of somatropin. Most adverse events reported during the study were mild in severity.
Adverse Events Observed In Adults With GHD Treated
With Eutropin™ INJ vs. Placebo
| Adverse events
(Incidence ≥5.0% in either group)
n = number of patients
| Eutropin™ INJ
(n = 92)
(n = 61)
|Upper respiratory tract infection||6||6.5||1||1.6|
During the pivotal study in adult GHD patients, a modest degree of glucose intolerance was observed in the 92 patients treated with Eutropin™ INJ for at least 3 months (31 of whom were treated for an additional 3 months). Of note, however, is the fact that 2 of the 26 patients in Group C with normal FBG values at baseline (who were treated with Eutropin™ INJ for 3 months from Month 4 through the end of Month 6 after being crossed over from placebo) had FBG values at Month 6 of 251 and 132 mg/dL. Absent follow-up data after study termination, these patients may have developed somatropin-induced de novo diabetes mellitus. In addition, 4 of these 26 patients had FBG values between 100-126 at Month 6. See PRECAUTIONS (General) regarding the well known potential of somatropin drug products to cause or unmask glucose intolerance.
Eight of the 92 patients in this study were enrolled (as per protocol) with a preexisting diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (3 of these 8 patients in fact were being treated with oral agent combination therapy and the remaining 5 patients were without drug therapy). In general, these diabetic patients tolerated treatment with Eutropin™ INJ reasonably well, i.e. no post-treatment FBG values exceeded 164 mg/dL on-study.
Seventy five out of the 92 adult GHD patients in the pivotal study (~81%) had preexisting central hypothyroidism and most of them were being treated with thyroxine replacement therapy - usually in conjunction with panhypopituitarism. None of these patients manifested clinical signs/symptoms of an exacerbation of preexisting central hypothyroidism (serial thyroid function tests were not obtained per protocol) during treatment with Eutropin™ INJ, i.e. there were no changes in maintenance thyroxine dose nor adverse events related to the thyroid during Eutropin™ INJ therapy. Furthermore, none of the remaining 17 patients enrolled in this study manifested clinical evidence of de novo central hypothyroidism. See PRECAUTIONS, DRUG INTERACTIONS.
Seventy five out of the 92 adult GHD patients in the pivotal study (~81%) also had preexisting central hypoadrenalism and most of them were being treated with glucocorticoid replacement therapy. None of these patients demonstrated convincing clinical evidence of an exacerbation of preexisting central hypoadrenalism; 2 patients required an increase in hydrocortisone replacement dosages while they were taking placebo approximately 2 months removed from treatment with Eutropin™ INJ. Furthermore, none of the remaining 17 patients enrolled in this study manifested clinical evidence of de novo central hypoadrenalism. See PRECAUTIONS, DRUG INTERACTIONS.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Valtropin (Somatropin Injection)
Additional Valtropin Information
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