Acthar Gel (ACTH) – Alternative to Steroids
Acthar (sometimes refereed
to by the name of the hormone ACTH) is an alternative to steroids
(Prednisone or Solu-Medrol) for people who react poorly to steroids
or no longer respond to them when trying to treat an acute
exacerbation. This drug does not effect the long term coarse of
Multiple Sclerosis but helps the recovery after an acute
Acthar contains a high
amount of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, a natural
steroid that our bodies produce. Keep in mind, this drug does work
over time unlike Solu-Medrol which tends to work in a matter of days.

This is a
self-administered intramuscular injection that is given in the
outside thigh muscle. Acthar comes in a vile, it is stored in a
refrigerator, and it must be let to rise to room temperature before
each injection. The amount of each injection depends on your doctor’s
instructions. After your injection the vile is then placed back into
a refrigerator for storage.
Acthar can cause
immuno-suppression just like steroids, this may reduce your ability
to fight off infections. Acthar was actually available before
Prednisone, it was FDA approved in 1978. Acthar costs about
$27,000.00 USD (Going to keep looking into latest price) whereas
SoluMedrol is about $50.00 USD a bag (You usually need 3-5 bags).
Common Side Effects:
  • vomiting
  • changes in appetite
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • restlessness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • sweating
Less Common Side Effects:
  • severe mood changes
    or mood swings
  • decreased or blurred
  • frequent urination

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