What is Acthar?
- H.P. Acthar Gel, commonly known as Acthar, is a prescription medication that is FDA approved for the treatment of multiple conditions, including symptoms of sarcoidosis, and has been used for many years
- Acthar contains the hormone ACTH, which stands for adrenocorticotropic (“a-DRE-no-cor-ti-co-tropic”) hormone
- Acthar is a gel when refrigerated; at room temperature, it changes to liquid form, ready for injection. Acthar should be kept refrigerated (36°–46°F or 2°–8°C) between uses
Only your healthcare provider can determine if Acthar is right for you.
- Acthar is believed to work with your immune system to help impact inflammatory and immune processes
- Acthar is not a steroid, but one of the ways it is thought to work is by helping your body produce its own natural steroid hormones
- Acthar is designed to provide a prolonged release of the medication after it is injected
How is Acthar administered?
- Acthar is an injection that can be given preferably subcutaneously (beneath the skin)or intramuscularly (into the muscle)
- Acthar should never be given intravenously (into a vein), by mouth, or in any area except beneath the skin or into the muscle
- Acthar can be used when and where it is best for you. It can be self-injected or given to you by a friend, family member, caregiver, or your healthcare provider
- Your doctor will advise you on how and where to inject Acthar
Meet Kerry, an Acthar Patient
Learn about Kerry’s experience living with sarcoidosis and how Acthar helped to manage her symptoms.
Important Safety Information
DO NOT take Acthar until you have talked to your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- A skin condition called scleroderma
- Bone density loss or osteoporosis
- Any infections, including fungal, bacterial, or viral
- Eye infections, such as ocular herpes simplex
- Had recent surgery
- Stomach ulcers or a history of stomach ulcers
- Heart failure
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Allergies to pig-derived proteins
- Have been given or are about to receive a live or live attenuated vaccine
- Suspected congenital infections (in children under 2 years of age)
- If you have been told that you have Cushing’s syndrome or Addison’s disease
Tell your doctor about any other health problems that you have. Give your doctor a complete list of medicines you are taking. Include all nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements that you are taking.
Use of Medication
Injecting Beneath the Skin:
Acthar Gel Side Effect Management
Here are the most common adverse effects with possible suggestions to deal with them.
- Fluid retention: Elevate legs, limit salt intake and consider mild diuretics (Water Pills)
- High blood sugar: Manage diet, seek medical help with sugar lowering medications
- High blood pressure: Blood Pressure Medications/ Adjust Blood Pressure Medications
- Behavior and mood changes: Get help from a psychiatric medical professional
- Changes in appetite and weight: Managing Diet, exercise and attend Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Decreasing the dose can be considered in some cases, followed by re-introduction of a higher dose of medication.
Please discuss any side effects (Adverse Effects) with your health care provider. Most can be managed without stopping treatment.
(resource: Rahaghi et al. ATS presentation 2017)
Starting a New Medication
If you have commercial or private insurance, you may be eligible for the Acthar Commercial Co-pay Program. The program provides the following:
- $0 co-pay for eligible patients*
- Enrollment over the phone during the Acthar welcome call or any time you are speaking with your Case Manager
- Automatic processing by the Acthar Specialty Pharmacy with no attempt to collect a co-pay
If you have government insurance, you may be eligible to receive financial support through Independent Charitable Foundations.
- Your Case Manager will provide information on Independent Charitable Foundations, fund availability, and contact information, and will let you know about documentation you may have to provide
- Please note that you will be responsible for working with the Independent Charitable Foundations and applying for funding
- Mallinckrodt does not determine Independent Charitable Foundations’ fund eligibility criteria, or have any influence over the patients chosen or types of assistance provided
If you do not have insurance coverage, you may be able to receive financial support through the Acthar Patient Assistance Program.
- Mallinckrodt provides Acthar at no cost to eligible patients with a valid, on-label prescription for Acthar who have no insurance, are underinsured, or are rendered uninsured
- Your Case Manager will transfer you to the Acthar Patient Assistance Program to determine eligibility†
- This program is administered via a third-party organization
*The Acthar Commercial Co-pay Program provides drug co-pay assistance of up to $25,000 per calendar year for each eligible patient. This program is not for patients receiving prescription reimbursement under any federal-, state-, or government-funded insurance programs or where prohibited by law. Additional Terms and Conditions and eligibility criteria apply. Mallinckrodt ARD, Inc. reserves the right to terminate or modify this program at any time without notice.
†Acthar Patient Assistance Program eligibility criteria:
- Valid Acthar prescription for an FDA-approved indication
- Permanent US resident
- Household income at or below 700% of the Federal Poverty Level
- Patients may be subject to random income verification to determine eligibility
Sarcoidosis is a serious condition. The medications designed to fight the disease typically show benefit slowly, over months, with most needing 3 to 6 months for maximum effect. The adverse effects (Side-effects) of these medications, however happen upfront. Your body typically will get used to them either with time, or with additional natural remedy or drugs. This may also take 2 to 3 months. It is necessary that you have patience, and talk to your doctor or nurses about dealing with them. Sometimes slowing the planned increase or cutting down on medication for a while will allow your body to adjust. Discuss matters with your doctors’ office before taking action of your own. Patience is a virtue!