Acthar Gel was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the 1970s for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. It was re-approved in 2010. The medicine had originally been approved in the U.S. in 1952 for several conditions, such as collagen diseases, inflammatory diseases of the skin and the eye, metabolic disorders, and allergic states, among others.
Acthar Gel may cause harm to a developing fetus. Patients should talk with their healthcare team and only continue Acthar Gel during pregnancy if the potential benefits justify the possible risks to the fetus.
The prescribing information for Acthar Gel does not report a direct interaction between the medication and alcohol. However, given that alcohol can interfere with some medications and disease symptoms, patients are advised to discuss this topic with their healthcare provider.
According to Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, which markets Acthar Gel, patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) taking the therapy reported clinically significant improvements in physical and psychological status after two months of treatment. These improvements were maintained six months after starting the medication. An improvement in MS-related eye problems, namely visual impairment due to optic neuritis, also was reported in patients after 15 days of treatment with Acthar Gel. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that each patient may respond to treatment in a different way.
Changes in body weight may occur. Patients who develop Cushing’s syndrome while on Acthar Gel may have greater deposits of fat resulting in weight gain; however, this usually resolves after therapy is stopped. Hair loss has not been reported as a side effect in people taking Acthar Gel. Patients should be monitored for these signs and should report any such symptoms to their healthcare providers.
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