Acthar Gel

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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.

Step-by-step Instruction Booklet:

Acthar Gel Side Effect Management
The most common side effects of Acthar are similar to those of steroids.

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
Here is how it works:

  1. Your doctor will send your Acthar prescription to the Acthar Hub, which is a no-cost resource that provides information about benefits, insurance coverage, and home delivery of medication. A personal Case Manager is assigned to support you throughout the process
  2. Your Case Manager at the Acthar Hub will work with your doctor and insurance company to determine your eligibility for coverage, and will work through any plan requirements and/or approvals. Responding to the plan requirements may take some time, but your Case Manager will help you through this process
  3. You may receive calls from your Case Manager to request additional information and to provide you with status updates. Be sure to answer calls from any toll-free number or blocked caller, as they may be someone contacting you regarding your prescription for Acthar
  4. The Specialty Pharmacy will call you to schedule delivery of your medication and will track the shipment
  5. Acthar will be delivered to your door

Acthar Hub

The Acthar Hub is a no-cost resource that provides information about insurance coverage and home delivery. Your own personal Case Manager at the Hub will support you throughout the process of obtaining Acthar.

At the request of your doctor, your Case Manager will contact your insurance company to determine your coverage and any out-of-pocket costs, and work through plan requirements and/or approvals.

To learn more about the Acthar Hub, call 1-888-435-2284 Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 9 PM ET and Saturday from 9 AM to 2 PM ET.

 

Financial Support

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

Patient Support
Join a support group:
Expectations

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!

Life with Sarcoidosis

Good health practices include:

  • Getting regular check-ups with your health care provider
  • Eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day
  • Getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Exercising regularly, and managing and maintaining your weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding exposure to dust, chemicals, fumes, gases, toxic inhalants, and other substances that can harm your lungs

Learn About Life with Sarcoidosis:

Download a brochure that explains the disease

Resources
  • Treatment Journal
    Develop your own nutrition plan using ideas and tips from this downloadable guide.
  • Injection Guide
    This handy step-by-step guide is a great refresher. It will show you how to inject at different sites.
  • Your Guide to Acthar
    Print this guide for a portable overview of Acthar and how it may help you. It also discusses Acthar support programs.
  • Your Journey with Symptomatic Sarcoidosis
    Learn more about sarcoidosis, its symptoms and possible causes, as well as potential treatment options.

Health Care Education is Our Mission

Help us build this website!

We strive to be your front line in health care education and greatly value your perspective. Please help us improve the content of this website by sharing your comments with us here. Your input helps us create an ever-evolving site that is user-friendly and provides the most relevant and up to date information for the community.

This website does not provide medical advice.

Informational Site Only

The contents of the MedEdCenter site, such as texts, graphics, images, information obtained from sources, and other material obtained on the MedEdCenter site (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on MedEdCenter site.

Dear Health care providers, if you are using the resources of this site, please be sure you are in agreement with the content being provided for the patient and its applicability to the individual patient.

We thank our supporters that have made this entire project possible

Platinum Level:

Gold Level:

Silver Level:

We thank our supporters that have made this entire project possible

Platinum Level:

Gold Level:

Silver Level:

info@mededcenter.org

Intro Flyer