H.P. Acthar Gel is a hormone (adrenocorticotropic hormone – ACTH) that works by stimulating the body to produce more adrenocortical hormones (corticosteroids, glucocorticoids). It is used to treat conditions caused by allergies, breathing issues, blood or endocrine problems, arthritis, skin or eye problems, bowel inflammation, certain cancers, and multiple sclerosis (MS).
In MS specifically, H.P. Acthar Gel is used to treat adults with acute relapses. Studies have shown that the gel is effective in speeding recovery of an MS relapse, but there is no evidence that it affects the natural progression of the disease or its ultimate outcome.
H.P. Acthar has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for short-term treatment of acute relapses of MS.
ACTH is available for people with MS who don’t tolerate the side effects of high doses of corticosteroids, prefer self-injection, have been treated without success with cortiscosteroids, or have difficulty receiving intravenous medication.
H.P. Acthar gel is usually administered as an injection under the skin or into a muscle at a doctor’s office or at home. If it is administered at home, the injection procedures must be carefully followed. For MS relapse treatment, it is usually injected once daily for 2 to 3 weeks, and then the dose is gradually decreased.
The most common side effects of H.P. Acthar are similar to those of steroids: fluid retention, changes in blood sugar, increased blood pressure, behavior and mood changes and changes in appetite and weight.
There is currently no generic version of H.P. Acthar Gel available in the U.S.
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