Somatropin, Mammalian Derived

Somatropin is man-made hormone used to promote growth in both children and adults who are unable to produce enough of the growth hormone naturally.

Overview

Somatropin is a mammalian derived, man-made hormone that stimulates growth. In a normal, healthy human a natural version of this growth hormone is produced, but certain medical conditions can mean that it is not produced in a patient and this can stunt growth. The man-made growth hormone is used to promote normal growth in the patients.

Conditions that can affect the growth and which can be treated by this medication include:

  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Idiopathic short stature
  • Turner syndrome

Somatropin can also be used for the treatment of short bowel syndrome along with a prescriptive dietary plan that your doctor will provide.

The man-made growth hormone, Somatropin can be used in both adults and children where normal growth is failing.

This medication is available only with a doctor’s prescription and is administered by a doctor as an injection into either muscle or under the skin of the patient. In some cases, the patient may be able to carry out this treatment at home and the patient will be instructed on how to carry this out safely by the doctor.

The medication is supplied as a powder to be reconstituted into an injection. It can also be prescribed with a range of delivery methods for injection.

Conditions treated

  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Idiopathic short stature
  • Turner syndrome

Type of medicine

  • Mammalian derived hormone

Side Effects

In addition to promoting growth in the patient, use of this medication can cause unwanted side effects. Not all of the following side effects may occur, but in some cases where they do occur medical attention will be needed.

You should contact your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Occurring more commonly:

  • Abnormal touch sensation or changes to skin sensitivity
  • Bleeding after defecating
  • Bloating or swelling on or around the face, arms, hands, lower legs, and/or feet
  • Blood seen in the urine
  • Burning, itching, or tingling feelings on the skin
  • Changes in skin color
  • Cold or flu symptoms
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Constipation or inability to pass stools
  • Cough or hoarseness
  • Darkened stream of urine
  • Decreased volume of urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Dry mouth or feeling of dehydration
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fast or irregular breathing
  • Feeling unusually cold in normal conditions
  • Feverishness or experiencing chills
  • Full or bloated feeling when not eating
  • General feeling of discomfort or illness
  • Headaches
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Itching of the skin
  • Joint pain
  • Lighter than normal coloration of stools
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of usual levels of hunger
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Muscle aching or cramping
  • Muscle pain or stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg
  • Pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • Pressure building up in the stomach
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Rapid weight increase
  • Rectal bleeding or rectal discomfort
  • Runny nose
  • Shivering when warm
  • Skin rash with or without lesions
  • Sneezing
  • Sore mouth or tongue
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach bloating, burning, cramping, or pain
  • Sudden decrease in the amount of urine being passed
  • Sweating when cool
  • Swelling of the abdomen or stomach area
  • Swelling of the eyes or eyelids
  • Swelling or puffiness of the face
  • Swollen joints
  • Thirstiness
  • Tightness in the chest and/or wheezing
  • Tingling of the hands or feet
  • Troubled breathing
  • Troubled sleep or inability to sleep
  • Uncomfortable swelling around the anus
  • Unpleasant breath odor
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Unusual weight gain or loss
  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting of blood
  • White patches appearing in the mouth, on the tongue, or around the throat
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Yellow eyes
  • Yellow skin

Occurring less commonly:

  • Bone or skeletal pain
  • Burning, numbness, pain, or tingling in all fingers except the smallest finger
  • Chest pain
  • Depressed mood or feeling of intense sadness
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Feeling cold
  • Hair loss or thinning of hair
  • Hoarseness or husky voice
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Swelling of the ankles

The following side effects may occur at the injection site. Consult your doctor as soon as you are able to if they are experienced:

  • Bleeding
  • Blistering
  • Burning sensation
  • Cold feeling
  • Discoloration of the area
  • Feeling of pressure being applied
  • Hives
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Itchiness
  • Lumpiness
  • Numb surroundings
  • Pain
  • Production of pus
  • Rash with or without lesions
  • Redness
  • Scarring
  • Sharpness
  • Soreness
  • Stinging
  • Swollen and raised protrusion
  • Tenderness
  • Tingling
  • Ulcers appearing
  • Warmth

Other side effects can occur that would not normally require medical attention. These side effects may go away after a short period, but if they are bothersome or ongoing then you should talk to your healthcare professional to determine how you can alleviate these side effects. Your healthcare professional may be able to adjust the dose to reduce side effects or may be able to offer you alternative treatments to alleviate the side effects.

Occurring more commonly:

  • Body aches or pain
  • Breast pain
  • Change in the color, amount, or odor of vaginal discharge
  • Congestion
  • Discoloration of the fingernails or toenails
  • Dryness or soreness of the throat
  • Excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • Frequent urge to defecate
  • Increased sweating
  • Increased passing of gas
  • Rash
  • Sneezing
  • Straining while passing stool
  • Stuffy nose
  • Tenderness or swelling of the glands in neck
  • Trouble with swallowing
  • Voice changes in pitch or tone

Occurring less commonly:

  • Discouragement or lack of motivation for simple tasks
  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Inability to sleep
  • Irritability
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of interest or pleasure
  • Sleeplessness
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble concentrating

It is possible to overdose on this medication. If you believe you have overdosed or believe that someone else has overdosed on this medication then you should contact the emergency services immediately to seek medical attention. Overdose can lead to very serious complications and treatment needs to be administered as rapidly as is possible. The following symptoms of overdose may occur:

  • Anxiousness
  • Blurry vision
  • Changes in vision
  • Cold sweats
  • Coma
  • Cool or pale skin
  • Decrease in the amount of urine
  • Depression
  • Excessive sweating
  • Extreme weakness
  • Flushed, dry skin
  • Frequent urination
  • Fruit-like breath odor
  • Increase in hands and feet size
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased volume of pale, diluted urine
  • Nightmares
  • Noisy, rattling breathing
  • Pain in the arms or legs
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Shakiness or trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slurred speech
  • Stop in menstruation
  • Swelling of the fingers or hands
  • Troubled breathing at rest

Other side effects that have not been listed herein may also occur. If you experience other side effects then you should contact your doctor to seek advice. If you are concerned about the side effects then seek immediate medical attention.

Dosage

This medication is administered by a doctor as an injection either directly into your muscle or under the skin of the patient.

Somatropin can in some cases be self-administered by the patient at home. If you are directed to take this medication at home then your doctor will teach you how to treat yourself properly and also inform you of what warning signs to look out for immediately after administering the treatment. Before treating yourself you should ensure that you know exactly how to carry out the procedure of preparation and injection. You should also be familiar with the symptoms of overdose and anaphylaxis and fully understand what to do should these symptoms occur.

Your doctor will also show you a range of areas in the body that this shot can be administered to. Rotating between sites each time you give yourself a shot will help you to avoid skin problems that can be caused by the injections. You should move site for every injection and avoid injecting into the same site until it has fully recovered and all visible traces and tenderness are gone.

In cases where this treatment is being used for short bowel syndrome, you should also carefully follow the dietary instructions as provided by your doctor. Remember to take all other medicines as prescribed too.

This medication will be supplied with a patient information leaflet. Read this carefully and ask your doctor if there is any part of it that you do not understand.

If your dose leaves some medication in the vial after administration then you should dispose of this properly. Do not keep medication once a vial has been opened and do not use a second dose from the same vial after any period of time.

If a vial of medication appears to have anything in it, has turned cloudy or has changed color then do not use it. These are signs that it has been contaminated or has gone off.

The dose given to each patient will be different depending on a wide range of factors. These factors include age, weight, which condition is being treated and the strength and brand of the drug prescribed. Do not ever change the dose or frequency of medication use unless directed to by your doctor. The following dosage information is a guideline only and you should follow the instructions given to you by your doctor.

For the treatment of growth hormone deficiency:

Adults prescribed Nutropin® or Nutropin AQ®

  • Non-weight based dose of 0.15-0.3 mg once daily.
  • Weight-based dose to be determined by your doctor. Starting dose is 0.006 mg/kg once daily. Can be increased to no more than 0.0125 mg/kg once daily.

Adults prescribed Saizen®

  • Weight based dose to be determined by your doctor. Starting dose is 0.005 mg/kg once daily. Dose can be increased by the doctor.

Children prescribed Nutropin® or Nutropin AQ®

  • Non-weight based dose of 0.3-0.7 mg/kg per week. Dose to be divided into daily doses. Can be adjusted by the doctor if needed.

Children prescribed Saizen®

  • Weight based dose to be determined by your doctor. Usual dose is 0.06 mg/kg given three times per week. Can be adjusted by the doctor if needed.

For the treatment of growth failure due to chronic kidney disease:

Children

  • Weight based dose is determined by the doctor. Weekly dose of up to 0.35 mg/kg. Dose to be divided into daily doses. Can be adjusted by the doctor if needed.

For the treatment of idiopathic short stature:

Children

  • Weight based dose is determined by the doctor. Weekly dose of up to 0.3 mg/kg. Dose to be divided into daily doses. Can be adjusted by the doctor if needed.

For treatment of Turner syndrome:

Children

  • Weight based dose is determined by the doctor. Weekly dose of up to 0.375 mg/kg. Dose to be divided into doses to be taken between 3-7 times in the week. Can be adjusted by the doctor if needed.

For the treatment of short bowel syndrome:

Adults

  • Weight based dose is determined by the doctor. Daily dose of up to 0.1 mg/kg for four weeks. Can be adjusted by the doctor if needed.

Children

  • Use and dose to be determined by the doctor.

If you miss a dose of this medication then you should call your doctor for instruction. This treatment is to be used on a fixed schedule so it is very important to take the treatment at the correct times.

Interactions

Certain medications should not be used at the same time as one another. In some cases, medications can react violently with one another causing serious problems for the patient. In other cases, they can prevent one another from working or can increase the risk of certain side effects. It is therefore vitally important that you inform your doctor of all medications that you might be taking. This includes herbal remedies, over the counter medications and prescription medications that you are taking.

Medications can also have an impact on existing medical conditions that you may have. Before taking Somatropin it is important that you discuss all medical conditions that you have or have had with your doctor. This is especially important if you have suffered from any of the following:

Do not use Somatropin if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

  • Brain tumor
  • Active cancer
  • Closed epiphyses in children
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Severe illness following major medical emergency

Somatropin can potentially make the following conditions worse. Caution should be used in patients suffering from the following:

  • History of cancer
  • History of fluid retention
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • History of otitis media in children
  • Pancreatitis
  • Scoliosis

Exercise extra caution in patients suffering from the following:

Diabetes

  • May prevent effective insulin treatment

Kidney disease

  • Effects can be increased to slow removal from the body

Turner syndrome

  • Can increase risks of thyroid and hearing problems

Warnings

Before taking this medication it is important to weigh the risks against the benefits of doing so. While the treatment can offer the patient significant health improvement, other complications from use can occur. This is a consideration that should be made by you and your doctor together. Important things for you both to consider include:

Allergies – If you have ever reacted badly to any form of medication that you may have taken in the past then you should inform your doctor of this. It is also important to share any other allergies you have including allergies to foods, dyes, preservatives, soaps, animals and any other substances.

Pediatric – Safe use in children suffering from growth hormone deficiencies has been determined and no limiting factors for use in children have been identified. No appropriate studies have been carried out relating to children and use for the treatment of short bowel syndrome.

Geriatric – No limiting factors have been identified in the use of this treatment on elderly patients. Caution should be exercised, however, as elderly patients may be more sensitive to the side effects from the use of somatropin.

Pregnancy – Inform your doctor if you are pregnant and discuss the risks of using this treatment. Animal studies have shown of risk of potential harm to the fetus but appropriate studies have not been carried out on humans. There is a risk to use of this treatment when pregnant. Use in a pregnant woman should be avoided unless absolutely needed. If you are taking this medication then you should use effective contraception to avoid pregnancy. If you believe that you have become pregnant during use then you should contact your doctor immediately.

Breastfeeding – The potential dangers of breastfeeding whilst taking this medication are unknown. You should discuss the risks with your doctor.

If is vital that you or your child receives regular checkups from your doctor when using this treatment. This will enable them to check that the medicine is working effectively and to look out for signs of unwanted side effects. Ensure that you attend any medical appointments that you are given when taking this medication.

Use of this medication can trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This can occur at any time when using the treatment and you should always remain alert to the symptoms of an allergic reaction when taking the shot. If you recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis you should call for emergency medical assistance immediately. The symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the face
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling of the throat
  • Troubled breathing
  • Chest pains

This medicine can lead to the dislocation of the hip. This is particularly likely in patients who suffer from Turner syndrome. If you notice your child limping or if you feel discomfort of the hip, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Pancreatitis can occur when taking this medication. This inflammation of the pancreas will cause some of the following symptoms. If you recognize any of these symptoms you should call your doctor straight away:

  • Bloating
  • Chills
  • Constipation
  • Darker than usual urine
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of hunger
  • Nausea
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Pain in the side
  • Pain in the abdomen and back
  • Vomiting
  • Yellow eyes
  • Yellow skin

This medication can cause a lowering of blood sugar levels. This is significant if you are diabetic and you should discuss this with your doctor. Inform your doctor if you notice a change in blood sugar test results.

This medication can cause an increase in pressure in the head and eyes. You may need to visit an ophthalmologist during treatment to examine eye pressure that could lead to the development of glaucoma. You should contact your doctor if you notice these signs of increased pressure in the head:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Changed vision
  • Change in color perception
  • Seeing lights or flashes that aren’t there
  • Floating spots in front of the eyes

This medication may increase fluid retention in the body. The effects of fluid retention can be alleviated by adjusting the dose. Inform your doctor if you experience the following:

  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Tingling, numbness or pain experienced in all fingers except smallest finger
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness of muscles

Somatropin is mixed with a solution that contains benzyl alcohol. It is possible to be allergic to this solutions and you should not use this solution if you are allergic to it.

Storage

This medication must be kept out of the reach of children at all times. Under no circumstances should children be allowed to prepare and administer the medication themselves without supervision. In cases where the medication is prescribed to be administered by a parent, it must be the parent who prepares and administers the medication.

Outdated medication should be properly disposed of as soon as possible.

Used needles should be put into a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through before disposing of them as directed by your healthcare professional. Keep these containers out of reach of both children and pets.

Nutropin® and Nutropin AQ® should be stored in the refrigerator at all times.

Saizen® and Zorbtive® should be stored at room temperature at all times.

All medications should be kept away from heat and moisture and kept out of direct sunlight. Do not allow the medication to freeze at any point.

Follow instructions for mixing treatments closely and do not keep mixed solutions for any longer than directed.

If medication appears to have changed in color or consistency do not use it and contact your pharmacist or doctor.

Summary

Somatropin is an injection that can be administered by a doctor or can be self-administered by the patient in certain circumstances. The medication is given as a shot either into the muscle of the patient or under the skin of the patient.

Somatropin is a mammalian derived, man-made version of a natural growth hormone that is produced in a healthy human. This man-made growth hormone is used in the treatment of patients who suffer from conditions that prevent the effective production of the growth hormone. Conditions that can be treated include growth hormone deficiency, chronic kidney disease, idiopathic short stature and Turner syndrome.

The Somatropin injection can also be used alongside other mediation and prescriptive diet for the treatment of short bowel syndrome.

This medication can cause anaphylaxis when used so the patient needs to be alert to the symptoms of severe allergic reaction whenever a dose is administered.

If the patient is prescribed this medication for self-administration then your healthcare professional will advise you on how to take the treatment safely and effectively. This will include preparation, injection, observation for side effects and proper disposal. The patient should only accept the treatment if they are confident in being able to carry it out safely and effectively without medical supervision.

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Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
December 22, 2017
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