What should I know about H.P. Acthar Gel before my child receives it?

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Before your child receives H.P. Acthar Gel, you should know why the drug is being prescribed for your child, the health benefits you can expect and side effects you may need to watch for. H.P. Acthar Gel, also called ACTH, corticotropin or repository corticotropin, is a medicine that is given as an injection into a muscle.

H.P. Acthar Gel is used to treat many conditions, including infantile spasms, several forms of arthritis including juvenile arthritis, lupus, some respiratory diseases, some skin conditions, eye problems and multiple sclerosis. Although doctors aren't sure exactly how H.P. Acthar Gel works to improve these conditions, it is thought to affect the brain and adrenal gland to help the body produce cortisol and other hormones.

Before your child starts taking H.P. Acthar Gel, make sure the doctor is aware of your child's current and past medical conditions, and any medications (prescription and nonprescription) or supplements your child takes. Realize that H.P. Acthar Gel may lower your child's resistance to some illnesses; whenever possible, you may want to keep your child away from people who are sick. You should check with the doctor before your child gets any vaccinations.

Your child will need to be monitored closely by his doctor to see how his body responds to H.P. Acthar Gel and to watch for side effects. You will need to call your child's doctor if your child experiences side effects of the drug, including an allergic reaction (hives, itching skin, trouble breathing or swollen face, mouth, throat and/or hands), stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight gain (especially around the neck), back pain, headache, seizures, light-headedness, shortness of breath, bluish skin and excessive sweating. Talk to your doctor for more information about H.P. Acthar Gel and how it may help your child.