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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Somatropin belongs to a class of drugs known as growth stimulants. Somatropin is a synthetic version of growth hormone. Growth hormone is made naturally in our bodies by the pituitary gland and is necessary for stimulation of growth in children.
This medication is used to treat:
- growth hormone deficiency in children (to replace growth hormone that they are unable to produce enough naturally)
- growth failure in children due to chronic kidney disease up until the time of kidney transplantation
- adults who have growth hormone deficiency (this can result from pituitary disease, surgery, radiation therapy, diseases of the hypothalamus, or trauma)
- short stature in people with Turner's syndrome
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
5 mg vial
Each vial of sterile powder contains somatropin 5 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: glycine, mannitol, sodium phosphate dibasic, and sodium phosphate monobasic; the diluent is bacteriostatic water for injection. Each mL contains 0.9% benzyl alcohol as a preservative.
10 mg vial
Each vial of sterile powder contains somatropin 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: glycine, mannitol, sodium phosphate dibasic, and sodium phosphate monobasic; the diluent is bacteriostatic water for injection. Each mL contains 0.9% benzyl alcohol as a preservative.
10 mg/2mL vial
Each vial of clear, sterile, nearly isotonic solution contains somatropin 10 mg per 2 mL of solution. Nonmedicinal ingredients: phenol, polysorbate 20, sodium chloride, and sodium citrate.
10 mg/2 mL pen cartridge
Each cartridge contains somatropin 10 mg per 2 mL of solution. Nonmedicinal ingredients: phenol, polysorbate 20, sodium chloride, and sodium citrate.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose depends on the circumstances and body weight of the person being treated. Your doctor will determine the appropriate dose of somatropin to be injected.
Somatropin is administered by injection only. It is usually injected subcutaneously (under the skin), although it can be given intramuscularly (into the muscle) if the doctor prefers. If it is injected under the skin, it is important to rotate the site of injection in order to minimize the risk of fat wasting at the site of injection.
If you are using this medication at home, your doctor will ensure that you understand exactly how to use it. Make sure you ask any and all questions necessary to ensure that you use it exactly as prescribed. Please refer to the appropriate package insert for details on how to mix the medicine and for proper injection procedures. It is important to visit your doctor regularly during therapy to ensure that the medication is working safely and effectively.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose of the medicine, call the doctor for further instructions. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
This medication is available as a ready-made solution (which comes as vials or pen cartridges) or as a powder that is mixed to form a solution. Store the ready-made solution in the refrigerator, do not freeze, and discard it 28 days after opening. After mixing the powder to form a solution, store it in the refrigerator, do not freeze, and discard it 14 days after mixing. Do not use the solution if it is discoloured or contains particles.
Keep this medication out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Somatropin injection should not be used by or given to anyone who:
- is allergic to somatropin or any ingredients of the medication
- has active cancer
- has an acute illness due to complications of surgery, has respiratory (breathing) failure, or has just had a serious accident
- has Prader-Willi syndrome and is severely obese or has severe breathing problems
Do not give this medication to children with closed epiphyses (growth plates).
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- breast enlargement
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- growth of birthmarks
- joint pain
- muscle pain
- swelling of hands, feet, or lower legs
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- abdominal pain or bloating
- depression of skin at place of injection
- ear infection or other ear problems (in Turner's syndrome)
- nausea and vomiting
- pain and swelling at site of injection
- pain in hip or knee
- skin rash or itching
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- severe or frequent headaches with nausea and vomiting or vision problems
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.
Diabetes: If you have diabetes, your doctor should closely monitor your condition while you are taking somatropin, as it may affect blood sugar control.
Hypothyroidism (low level of thyroid hormone): If you have uncontrolled hypothyroidism, treatment with somatropin may not work as well as it could. Discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Scoliosis: People with scoliosis are at risk of a worsening of their condition while taking somatropin. If you have scoliosis, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if somatropin passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between somatropin and any of the following:
- corticosteroids (e.g., cortisone, prednisone)
- diabetes medications (e.g., glimepiride, insulin, metformin)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material © 1996-2013 MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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