Acthar is a prescription medicine for flares or on a regular basis (maintenance) in people with systemic dermatomyositis or polymyositis (DM-PM).

Learn How to Take Acthar

If you and your doctor decide that Acthar is a good option for treating your dermatomyositis or polymyositis, Mallinckrodt offers you support in getting Acthar and learning how to use it properly.

Acthar can be injected at home

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 doctor.

Acthar can be injected:

Your doctor will advise on how and where to inject Acthar and what the appropriate dose is for you. For more information, see our accompanying Injection Guide below.

See how Acthar is injected

These educational videos will show you how to inject your Acthar treatment:

Injecting beneath the skin

Subcutaneous (SC) injection videos

Subcutaneous (SC) injection videos1:22

Injecting into the muscle

Intramuscular (IM) injection videos

Intramuscular (IM) injection videos1:19

Take advantage of our educational materials

In addition to the support available from A.S.A.P. and your own healthcare provider’s office, there are also training videos, a slideshow, and downloadable instructions available right on this site to help you with the injection process.

Steps to Injecting Acthar

Start the Brief Injection Guide

Take a look at this guide for a quick overview of how to properly inject Acthar.

Please note:

  • This quick reference is not intended to replace the injection training that you received from your doctor or nurse
  • Your doctor or nurse is always the best source of advice
  • See the injection instruction video and additional information below
  • If you still have questions about injecting, download the Step-by-Step Injection Guide

Prior to injecting Acthar, please refer to the Important Safety Information about Acthar.

Speak with your doctor about the potential side effects associated with Acthar, including possible injection site reactions.

Next: Prepare Your Injection

Prepare Your Injection

  • Gather all of the Acthar injection materials in one place
    • Remove the vial of Acthar from the refrigerator. (Do not open the vial or pry off the rubber stopper cap)
  • Warm Acthar by rolling the vial between the palms of your hands for a few minutes
  • Wash your hands
  • Your healthcare provider will advise you on how to inject Acthar
Next: Choose Your Type of Injection

Choose Your Type of Injection

Choose the type of injection you need as well as the injection site:

Inject Beneath the Skin (Subcutaneous): Upper Thigh

  • Sit comfortably on a firm chair to keep the thigh area relaxed
  • Place one hand on your knee and one hand on your upper thigh near your hip. Draw an imaginary line down the center front of your thigh from hip to knee. The area between your hands and from the center of your thigh to the outer side of the leg is the area that should be injected

Inject Beneath the Skin (Subcutaneous): Abdomen

  • Sit comfortably on a firm chair
  • Place your hands on your lower ribs. Injections should be done below where your hands are in any area that has enough tissue to pinch. However, it is important not to inject the belly button or the 1-inch area around it

Inject Beneath the Skin (Subcutaneous): Back of Upper Arm

The following instructions are for the person giving the injection:

  • Run your fingers along the collarbone until you reach the shoulder bone
  • Place 4 fingers of your hand just below the shoulder bone
  • Now place 4 fingers of your other hand on the back side of the elbow. Draw an imaginary line down the center back and down the outer side of the back of the upper arm from shoulder to elbow. Injections can be given between these imaginary lines and your hands if there is enough tissue to pinch

Inject Beneath the Skin (Subcutaneous): Side of Upper Arm

The following instructions are for the person giving the injection:

  • Run your fingers along the collarbone until you reach the shoulder bone at the outermost tip of the shoulder
  • Place 4 fingers of your hand just below the shoulder bone
  • Now place 4 fingers of your other hand on the elbow. Draw an imaginary line down the center front and down the outer side of the upper arm from shoulder to elbow. Injections can be given between these imaginary lines and your hands if there is enough tissue to pinch

Inject Into the Muscle (Intramuscular): Upper-Outer Thigh

  • Sit comfortably on a firm chair to keep the muscle relaxed
  • Place your fingertips on the middle of the thigh and gently press down to locate the thigh bone. The muscle that runs along the upper-outer edge of the thigh bone is the muscle that should be injected
  • It is best to inject into the middle third of that muscle. To find the middle third, place the fingertips of one hand on your knee and rest the palm of that hand on your thigh. Place the fingertips of your other hand behind the first hand. The outer area under your second hand is the area to inject

Inject Into the Muscle (Intramuscular): Upper Arm

The following instructions are for the person giving the injection:

  • Run your fingers along the collarbone until you reach the shoulder bone at the outermost tip of the shoulder
  • Inject in the area 3 fingertip widths directly below the shoulder bone
Next: Perform Your Injection

Perform Your Injection

  • Wipe the top of the vial (the rubber stopper) with a new sterile alcohol wipe
  • Prepare the syringe and a new sterile needle to draw up the amount of Acthar that your doctor has told you to use. Make sure to inject with ONLY a 23g or 25g needle and NOT the 20g needle
  • If you’re injecting beneath the skin, pinch the skin around the injection site between the thumb and fingers of the hand that is not holding the syringe. Then, insert the needle
  • If you’re injecting into the muscle, stretch the skin at the injection site and insert the needle
  • Draw back syringe plunger slightly
    • If blood appears, withdraw needle and begin again
    • If no blood appears, inject all of the Acthar slowly and then pull the needle straight out
Next: Complete Your Injection Process

Complete Your Injection Process

  • Dispose of used syringe, needle, and needle cap
  • Place vial of Acthar back in the refrigerator. Acthar should be kept refrigerated (36°F–46°F; 2°C–8°C) between uses

Remember: if you are using a journal to keep track of your treatment schedule, be sure to fill it out now before you forget.

Many states require that you should:

  • Place used supplies in a heavy plastic or metal container with a tight-fitting lid that is puncture-resistant and leak-proof; you can ask your pharmacist for a sharps container or you can use a laundry detergent bottle
  • Mark “Not For Recycling” on the container
    • Reinforce the lid with heavy-duty tape
    • Store the container in a secure place out of reach of children or pets

You should not:

  • Reuse syringes, needles, and vials
  • Throw the syringes, needles, and vials in household trash
  • Recycle syringes, needles, and vials
  • Use a clear plastic or glass container for disposal

Keep in mind:

  • This quick reference is not intended to replace the injection training that you received from your doctor or nurse
  • Your doctor or nurse is always the best source of advice
  • If you still have questions about injecting, download this Step-by-Step Injection Guide

Get an Acthar Starter Kit

You can download tools to help you with your treatment. The Patient Brochure has information about dermatomyositis, polymyositis, and Acthar. The Treatment Journal will help you keep track of your injections and your progress.

If you have an Acthar prescription but did not receive an Acthar Starter Kit, ask your healthcare provider. They can get one for you at no charge from Mallinckrodt.

Real Patient Stories:Meet Tottie

Tottie shares her experience with polymyositis and Acthar.

Real Patient Stories:

Meet Tottie

Tottie shares her experience with polymyositis and Acthar.

Next:Make the Most of Your Treatment

Acthar is a prescription medicine for flares or on a regular basis (maintenance) in people with systemic dermatomyositis or polymyositis (DM-PM).

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.

What is the most important information I should know about Acthar?

  • Never inject Acthar directly into a vein
  • Always inject Acthar beneath the skin or into the muscle
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for injecting Acthar
  • Never stop treatment suddenly unless your doctor tells you to do so
  • Try not to miss any scheduled doctor’s appointments. It is important for the doctor to monitor you while taking Acthar

Acthar and corticosteroids have similar side effects.

  • You may be more likely to get new infections. Also, old infections may become active. Tell your doctor if you see any signs of an infection. Contact your doctor at the first sign of an infection or fever. Signs of infection are fever, cough, vomiting, or diarrhea. Other signs may be flu or any open cuts or sores
  • When taking Acthar long term, your adrenal gland may produce too much of a hormone called cortisol. This can result in symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome. This may cause increased upper body fat, a rounded “moon” face, bruising easily, or muscle weakness
  • Sometimes when you stop taking Acthar long term, your body may not produce enough natural cortisol. This is called “adrenal insufficiency.” Your doctor may prescribe a steroid medicine to protect you until the adrenal gland recovers
  • You might develop high blood pressure, or retain too much fluid. As a result of this, your doctor may recommend some changes to your diet, such as eating less salt and taking certain supplements
  • Vaccines may not work well when you are on Acthar. Talk to your doctor about which vaccines are safe to use when you are taking Acthar
  • Acthar may hide symptoms of other diseases. This can make it more difficult for your doctor to make a diagnosis if something else is going on
  • Stomach or intestinal problems. Acthar may increase the risk of bleeding stomach ulcers. Tell your doctor if you have stomach pains, bloody vomit, bloody or black stools, excessive tiredness, increased thirst, difficulty breathing, or increased heart rate
  • Taking Acthar can make you feel irritable or depressed. You may also have mood swings or trouble sleeping
  • If you have other conditions, such as diabetes or muscle weakness, you may find they get worse
  • You might develop certain eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or optic nerve damage
  • Your body may develop allergies to Acthar. Signs of allergic reaction are:
    • Skin rash and itching
    • Swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or throat
    • Trouble breathing
  • Long-term Acthar use can affect growth and physical development in children. This can be reversed when Acthar is no longer needed
  • Acthar may cause osteoporosis (weak bones)
  • Acthar might harm an unborn baby. Therefore, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant

What are the most common side effects of Acthar?

The most common side effects of Acthar are similar to those of steroids. They include:

  • Fluid retention
  • High blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Behavior and mood changes
  • Changes in appetite and weight

Specific side effects in children under 2 years of age include:

  • Increased risk of infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome
  • Thickening of the heart muscle (cardiac hypertrophy)
  • Weight gain

The above side effects may also be seen in adults and children over 2 years of age.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Acthar.

Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you, or that does not go away. Call your doctor or pharmacist for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA. Call 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects by calling 1-800-778-7898.

Please see full Prescribing Information.

H.P. Acthar® Gel (repository corticotropin injection)

What is H.P. Acthar Gel?

Acthar is a prescription medicine for flares or on a regular basis (maintenance) in people with systemic dermatomyositis or polymyositis (DM-PM).

Acthar is injected beneath the skin or into the muscle.

Mallinckrodt, the “M” brand mark and the Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals logo are trademarks of a Mallinckrodt company. Other brands are trademarks of a Mallinckrodt company or their respective owners.

© 2017 Mallinckrodt. By viewing this site you agree to our Terms of Use. The product information provided in this site is intended only for residents of the United States.

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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.

What is the most important information I should know about Acthar?

  • Never inject Acthar directly into a vein
  • Always inject Acthar beneath the skin or into the muscle
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for injecting Acthar
  • Never stop treatment suddenly unless your doctor tells you to do so
  • Try not to miss any scheduled doctor’s appointments. It is important for the doctor to monitor you while taking Acthar

Acthar and corticosteroids have similar side effects.

  • You may be more likely to get new infections. Also, old infections may become active. Tell your doctor if you see any signs of an infection. Contact your doctor at the first sign of an infection or fever. Signs of infection are fever, cough, vomiting, or diarrhea. Other signs may be flu or any open cuts or sores
  • When taking Acthar long term, your adrenal gland may produce too much of a hormone called cortisol. This can result in symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome. This may cause increased upper body fat, a rounded “moon” face, bruising easily, or muscle weakness
  • Sometimes when you stop taking Acthar long term, your body may not produce enough natural cortisol. This is called “adrenal insufficiency.” Your doctor may prescribe a steroid medicine to protect you until the adrenal gland recovers
  • You might develop high blood pressure, or retain too much fluid. As a result of this, your doctor may recommend some changes to your diet, such as eating less salt and taking certain supplements
  • Vaccines may not work well when you are on Acthar. Talk to your doctor about which vaccines are safe to use when you are taking Acthar
  • Acthar may hide symptoms of other diseases. This can make it more difficult for your doctor to make a diagnosis if something else is going on
  • Stomach or intestinal problems. Acthar may increase the risk of bleeding stomach ulcers. Tell your doctor if you have stomach pains, bloody vomit, bloody or black stools, excessive tiredness, increased thirst, difficulty breathing, or increased heart rate
  • Taking Acthar can make you feel irritable or depressed. You may also have mood swings or trouble sleeping
  • If you have other conditions, such as diabetes or muscle weakness, you may find they get worse
  • You might develop certain eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or optic nerve damage
  • Your body may develop allergies to Acthar. Signs of allergic reaction are:
    • Skin rash and itching
    • Swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or throat
    • Trouble breathing
  • Long-term Acthar use can affect growth and physical development in children. This can be reversed when Acthar is no longer needed
  • Acthar may cause osteoporosis (weak bones)
  • Acthar might harm an unborn baby. Therefore, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant

What are the most common side effects of Acthar?

The most common side effects of Acthar are similar to those of steroids. They include:

  • Fluid retention
  • High blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Behavior and mood changes
  • Changes in appetite and weight

Specific side effects in children under 2 years of age include:

  • Increased risk of infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome
  • Thickening of the heart muscle (cardiac hypertrophy)
  • Weight gain

The above side effects may also be seen in adults and children over 2 years of age.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Acthar.

Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you, or that does not go away. Call your doctor or pharmacist for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA. Call 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects by calling 1-800-778-7898.

Please see full Prescribing Information.

H.P. Acthar® Gel (repository corticotropin injection)

What is H.P. Acthar Gel?

Acthar is a prescription medicine for flares or on a regular basis (maintenance) in people with systemic dermatomyositis or polymyositis (DM-PM).

Acthar is injected beneath the skin or into the muscle.

Mallinckrodt, the “M” brand mark and the Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals logo are trademarks of a Mallinckrodt company. Other brands are trademarks of a Mallinckrodt company or their respective owners.

© 2017 Mallinckrodt. By viewing this site you agree to our Terms of Use. The product information provided in this site is intended only for residents of the United States.

ARDUS/01-05/0816/0059(1)

You are now leaving Acthar.com

Acthar.com is owned by Mallinckrodt. Mallinckrodt is only responsible for the content on this website.

CancelContinue

This information is intended for U.S. Healthcare Professionals. If you are a Healthcare Professional, click OK to continue; if not, click cancel to go back.

CancelOK