How it's believed to work


Download the Parent and Caregiver Brochure:

Acthar is a prescription medication containing natural, highly purified adrenocorticotropic [ah-dree-noh-kor-tih-coh-trohp-ik] hormone (ACTH). It's a medication that works with your child's body to help it produce its own natural steroids.

While the exact way that Acthar works in the body is unknown, further studies are being conducted. This information is based on laboratory data, and how it relates to patient benefits is unknown.

When your doctor prescribes Acthar, you and your child will begin what is typically a 4-week treatment plan. Your child's doctor will determine the correct dose for your baby and the full length of treatment.

Your baby will likely receive the first week of treatment as an inpatient in the hospital. Then, you'll take over the treatments on the following schedule:

  • Weeks 1 and 2: Intramuscular (into a muscle) injections 2 times per day
  • Weeks 3 and 4: Your doctor will provide a schedule to gradually reduce the Acthar dose and number of injections

During treatment, your doctor may check your child's blood pressure regularly. He or she may ask you to make changes to the foods your child eats, such as limiting salt and adding certain supplements.

Injecting Acthar

You may be nervous or worried about giving Acthar injections to your child. Other parents have learned to do it, and you can too. Rest assured that intramuscular injections of Acthar help ensure that your baby receives the full and correct dose of the treatment.

Your doctor will also make sure that you receive injection training resources before your baby is discharged from the hospital or shortly after you arrive home.

Acthar may increase your child’s risk of bleeding from the stomach or developing stomach ulcers. Tell your doctor if your baby has black or bloody stools, bloody vomit, difficulty breathing, or a heart rate that is faster than normal. You should also tell your doctor if your child seems extra tired or extra thirsty, or seems to have stomach pains.

Read the Important Safety Information

Scroll down to read the Important Safety Information. Download the full Medication Guide to see what to expect from Acthar.

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Helpful Resources

Meet Acthar families

Watch others who have been through the entire process of diagnosis and treatment tell you in their own words what to expect when a child has IS.

Learn how to give Acthar

Step-by-step videos help you walk through the administration process so you can learn, and then review, at your own pace.

Treatment calendar

Keep track of your child's injection training schedule and progress.

Download your calendar