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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Somatropin belongs to a class of medications known as growth stimulants. Somatropin is a synthetic growth hormone.
Growth hormone is made naturally in our bodies by the pituitary gland and is necessary for stimulation of growth in children.
Somatropin is used to treat:
- growth hormone deficiency in children (to replace growth hormone that they are unable to produce enough of naturally)
- growth failure in children born small for gestational age (SGA) who do not catch up in growth by 2 to 4 years or later
- in adults who have growth hormone deficiency (this can result from pituitary disease, surgery, radiation therapy, hypothalamic disease, or trauma)
- to treat people with idiopathic short stature whose epiphyses (growth plates) have not sealed
- to treat children with short stature homeobox-containing gene (SHOX) deficiency whose epiphyses (growth plates) have not sealed
- to treat short stature in people with Turner’s syndrome whose epiphyses (growth plates) have not sealed
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here.
As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles.
If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using 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.
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 using 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.
Somatropin vials and cartridges should be refrigerated, protected from light, and kept from freezing.
After preparing the medication by mixing with the provided diluent, vials are stable for up to 21 days, and cartridges are stable for up to 28 days, provided that they are stored in a refrigerator. 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.
Somatropin injection should not be used by or given to anyone who:
- is allergic to somatropin or any ingredients of the medication
- is a child with closed epiphyses (growth plates)
- has active cancer
- has an active brain tumour
- 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
- have vision problems due to long-term effects of diabetes (diabetic retinopathy)
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
- joint pain
- muscle pain
- swelling of hands, feet, or lower legs
- redness, pain or swelling at site of injection
- 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:
depression of skin at place of injection
ear infection or other ear problems (in Turner’s syndrome)
- nausea and vomiting
- pain in hip or knee
- severe abdominal pain, particulary in children
- skin rash or itching
symptoms of high blood sugar (e.g., frequent urination, increased thirst, excessive eating, unexplained weight loss, poor wound healing, infections, fruity breath odour)