Norditropin side effects and how to avoid them
Norditropin is an FDA-approved medication manufactured by Novo Nordisk A/S. It is classified as a human growth hormone (HGH) and is used for growth failure. While Norditropin is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Norditropin include upper respiratory infections. Less common but more serious side effects can include hyperglycemia and serious allergic reactions.
Learn more about the side effects of Norditropin and what you can do to avoid them.
What is Norditropin (somatropin)?
Norditropin is a recombinant human growth hormone indicated for:
- Treatment of children with growth failure due to growth hormone deficiency (GHD), short stature associated with Noonan syndrome, (idiopathic short stature) associated with Turner syndrome, and born small for gestational age (SGA) with no catch-up growth by 2 to 4 years of age
- Treatment of adults with either adult onset or childhood-onset GHD
What are the side effects of Norditropin?
The most common side effects of Norditropin include:
- Injection site reactions
- Rashes and lipoatrophy
- Upper respiratory infection
- Muscle pain
- Joint Pain, back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Abdominal pain
- Decreased or difficult urination
In rare instances, Norditropin Flexpro can cause more serious side effects. These can include:
- Acute critical illness
- Prader-Willi Syndrome in children – check for signs of upper airway obstruction and sleep apnea before initiation of treatment
- Impaired glucose tolerance, new or worsening high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), and Diabetes Mellitus
- Intracranial Hypertension (increased blood pressure)
- Serious hypersensitivity reactions
- Fluid Retention
- Hypoadrenalism – glucocorticoid dose increases in those with known hypoadrenalism
- Slipped capital femoral epiphysis – evaluate children with the onset of a limp or hip/knee pain
- Progression of preexisting scoliosis
If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Norditropin and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report the negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the long-term side effects of Norditropin?
Long-term side effects of Norditropin include an increased risk of the growth of a tumor already present and the increased risk of a tumor returning in those who have previously been treated as children and have low growth hormones.
What are the side effects of stopping Norditropin?
Stopping Norditropin treatment results in a child being shorter than they would be at adulthood if they had continued treatment. These patients will have weaker bones, less muscle, and higher body fat and cholesterol. They will also have psychological symptoms such as increased tiredness, reduced energy, irritability, and depression.
Norditropin is available as a prefilled pen in the following doses:
- 5 mg/1.5 mL (orange)
- 10 mg/1.5 mL (blue)
- 15 mg/1.5 mL (green)
- 30 mg/3 mL (purple)
Norditropin should be given as a subcutaneous injection:
- Pediatric GHD: 0.024 to 0.034 mg/kg/day, 6 to 7 times a week
- Noonan Syndrome: Up to 0.066 mg/kg/day
- Turner Syndrome: Up to 0.067 mg/kg/day
- SGA: Up to 0.067 mg/kg/day
- Adult GHD: 0.004 mg/kg/day, increased as tolerated to not more than 0.016 mg/kg/day after approximately 6 weeks, or a starting dose of approximately 0.2 mg/day (range, 0.15 to 0.30 mg/day) increased gradually every 1 to 2 months by increments of approximately 0.1 to 0.2 mg/day
Injection sites should always be rotated to avoid lipoatrophy. Do not expose your pen to dust, dirt, liquid, or direct light.
Please see the instructions for use in the prescribing information and drug information, and always speak with your healthcare provider for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.
What is the maximum recommended dose of Norditropin?
Your treatment and dose prescribed to you will depend on whether you are an adult or a child, the condition you are being treated for, and in the case of children, your body weight. The usual maximum daily dose is 1.0 mg per day, but this will be decided by your doctor and may be adjusted depending on your response to treatment.
How often does Norditropin need to be taken?
Norditropin should be used daily, every evening, just before bedtime.
Norditropin drug interactions
Norditropin can interact with other medications, including:
- Cytochrome P450-metabolized drugs
- Oral estrogen
- Insulin and/or oral/injectable hypoglycemic agents
Before taking Norditropin Flexpro, be sure to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking to ensure they are safe to take at the same time.
Norditropin warnings & precautions
You should not use Norditropin if you:
- Are allergic to the active ingredient somatropin
- Have had an allergic reaction to any of the other ingredients in Norditropin
- Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
- Have had a recent acute critical illness – open heart surgery, abdominal surgery, multiple accidental trauma or acute respiratory failure
- Are a child with Prader-Willi syndrome who is severely obese or has severe respiratory impairment (Norditropin causes breathing problems)
- Have active cancer
- Have active proliferative or severe non-proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
Talk to your doctor before using Norditropin if you:
- Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Norditropin
- Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
- Have diabetes
- Have a pituitary gland disorder
- Have abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis)
- Have an underactive thyroid
You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Norditropin, to make sure it is safe for you.
What are the side effects of taking growth hormones?
Using high levels of growth hormone can produce irreversible acromegaly if used over a long period of time. However, smaller doses can lead to blood clots, heart disease and diabetes.
What are the side effects of giving a child growth hormones?
Side effects experienced in children include problems at the injection site, headaches, and hip problems. Long-term side effects may include an increased risk of the growth of a tumor already present and the increased risk of a tumor returning in those who have previously been treated.
What is the difference between growth hormones and steroids?
The first thing to know is that anabolic steroid use is against the law under all conditions, and illegal steroid use may cause serious and irreversible negative health impacts. Growth hormone therapy, in contrast, is a well-documented medical practice offering benefits to patients with growth hormone deficiencies. Speak to your doctor to discuss the safe treatments available to you.
How long does it take to see results from Norditropin?
Initial results may take up to 6 months to be seen, with the greatest results seen in the first year of use.
Can Norditropin cause a loss of appetite?
Norditropin may cause loss of appetite as well as symptoms of hunger. Speak to your healthcare provider if you experience either of these side effects.
Can Norditropin cause weight loss?
Norditropin can cause weight loss, with an increase in the proportion of weight lost as fat and visceral fat.
Does Norditropin cause mood swings?
Norditropin may cause changes in mood, specifically an increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Does Norditropin cause fatigue?
Yes, fatigue is a common side effect when taking Norditropin. Speak to your healthcare provider if this side effect becomes excessive or detrimental to you.
How to avoid Norditropin side effects
The best way to avoid side effects is to take Norditropin as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, and do not take more or less than prescribed.
If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.
1. Stick to the recommended dosage
Take your prescribed dose of Norditropin that has been recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.
2. Monitor your blood sugar levels
If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Norditropin. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.
3. Drink plenty of fluids
Drink eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day to help prevent dehydration, which can make side effects worse.
4. Avoid alcohol
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Norditropin as it can increase your risk of feeling tired or lethargic and lead to respiratory depression, seizures and even death.
5. Don’t skip meals
Eating regular meals and snacks will help to prevent low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
6. Check your feet
If you have diabetes, check your feet for any cuts, sores, or redness regularly. Tell your doctor if you experience any problems with your feet while taking Norditropin.
7. Know the signs and symptoms of Norditropin side effects
Signs and symptoms of side effects include upper respiratory infections. If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor for medical advice.
8. Monitor your weight
Norditropin may cause weight loss. If you experience this side effect while taking Norditropin, get medical advice from your doctor.
9. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking
Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Norditropin.
10. Get regular medical check ups
It is important to get regular medical check ups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your side effects and may adjust your dose of Norditropin as needed.
A medical professional has reviewed this article.
Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.