How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Thyrotropin alfa belongs to the class of medications called human thyroid stimulating hormones. It is used with radioactive iodine to treat people with thyroid cancer who have had most or all of their thyroid gland removed without spreading of the cancer to other parts of the body.
It is also used as an additional diagnostic tool, with or without radioactive iodine, for testing for thyroglobulin (Tg) in the blood in people with thyroid cancer.
Thyrotropin alfa is a man-made hormone that acts the same way as the naturally-occurring thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in the body. It works by making the thyroid cells in the body produce Tg, absorb radioactive iodine, and remove thyroid tissue left over after surgery.
People who have had surgery to remove their thyroid glands because of thyroid cancer need regular checkups to ensure the cancer is still gone. Testing the blood for Tg is one way to do this. The detection of Tg indicates the presence of thyroid cells or thyroid cancer cells.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each vial of sterile, nonpyrogenic lyophilized product contains 1.1 mg of thyrotropin alfa. Nonmedicinal ingredients: mannitol, nitrogen, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate dibasic heptahydrate, sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate, and sterile water for injection.
How should I use this medication?
The usual recommended dose is 0.9 mg injected into the buttocks muscle every 24 hours for 2 doses. Thyrotropin alfa should only be given as an injection into the muscle. This medication is given by a health care professional with experience managing thyroid cancer.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important that this medication be given exactly as recommended by your doctor. If you miss an appointment to receive thyrotropin alfa, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
This medication is stored in the refrigerator and it should be protected from light.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use this medication if you:
- are allergic to thyrotropin alfa or any ingredients of this medication
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who uses this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people using this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- change in skin colour
- changes in taste
- changes in touch
- decreased appetite
- difficulty sleeping
- difficulty with memory or concentration
- dry lips
- dry skin
- feeling hot or cold
- feeling unwell
- flu-like symptoms (e.g., chills, fever, joint or muscle ache, fatigue)
- hair loss
- muscle stiffness, tightness, or spasms
- numbness, tingling, or prickling sensation
- pain when eating
- ringing in the ears
- runny nose
- salivary gland enlargement
- sore throat
- stuffy nose
- tremor or shaking
- warmth at the place of injection
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- easy bruising
- painful or swollen lymph nodes
- pain near the tumour
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- difficulty breathing
- hives or skin rash or blisters
- pounding, fast, or irregular heartbeat
- signs of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing; hives; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; dizziness; fainting
- sudden redness, pain, or swelling in the leg
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are using this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Heart disease: If you have a history of heart disease and have significant thyroid tissue left after thyroid gland removal, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Kidney problems: If you have end-stage kidney disease or are receiving dialysis treatments, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Thyroid cancer patients with metastatic disease: If your thyroid cancer has spread to other parts of the body, especially confined areas (e.g., brain, spinal cord), you may experience local swelling or bleeding at these sites when using thyrotropin alfa. You should talk to your doctor, who may prescribe you corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone) to take before receiving thyrotropin alfa.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if thyrotropin alfa passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. In many cases, interactions are intended or are managed by close monitoring. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2019. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Thyrogen