Growth hormone therapy is the most common treatment for growth hormone deficiency in children and adults. While there are different hGH analogs, Genotropin (somatropin) is one of the most prescribed in the United States.
Once your doctor prescribes you or your child with Genotropin growth hormone injections, the pharmacist will deliver Genotropin cartridges for compatible reusable or disposable subcutaneous injection devices.
But Genotropin is a temperature-sensitive biological product that requires specific storage conditions. Therefore, knowing how to store Genotropin at home correctly is critical for a successful therapy.
So, let’s focus on that point for now and make sure you’re all mastering your new drug’s storage instructions!
Related article: A list of medicines that require refrigeration.
What is Genotropin?
Genotropin is a human growth hormone (HGH) analog (recombinant human growth hormone or biosynthetic human growth hormone). It's a manufactured copy of our natural growth hormone called somatotropin and produced in the pituitary glands.
Genotropin's active ingredient is Somatropin. It’s been on the market for over 35 years and is officially FDA-approved medication for the treatment of various growth disorders in both children and adults, including:
- Growth hormone deficiency
- Prader-Willi syndrome
- Idiopathic short stature
- Turner syndrome
- Short stature for age
- Noonan syndrome
Genotropin (somatropin) is self-administered by the patient (or the parents in the case of children) via subcutaneous injections (into a muscle or under the skin). Most of the time, it’s injected daily, although the frequency and dosage depend on your condition and your doctor’s prescription.
There are two main injections devices for Genotropin:
- The Genotropin GoQuick injector pen that contains multi-dose injections with a digital display and can be refilled with cartridges.
- The Genotropin MiniQuick prefilled disposable syringe that contains one dose of medicine.
Does Genotropin need to be refrigerated?
Like most human growth hormones such as Norditropin, Omnitrope, Humatrope, Nutropin, Saizen, Serostim, and others, Genotropin is a biological product. As such, it’s very sensitive to ambient conditions, especially light and temperature. Therefore, Genotropin requires specific storage conditions to guarantee its effectiveness and safety for use.
Whether or not you should refrigerate your Genotropin depends on the injection device you’re using and when you’ve opened it for the first time.
Genotropin is delivered in two-chamber cartridges, with the somatropin powder on one side and the liquid diluent on the other. Some but not all diluents contain preservatives. So whether you should refrigerate Genotropin really depends on if the medicine has been reconstituted (mixed) and if it contains preservatives.
Always read the storage instructions before use and ask your pharmacist if you have any doubts about storing your human growth hormone medication properly. Refrigeration and adequate storage conditions are essential parts of your treatment. Your medicine’s effectiveness, and ultimately your health, may depend on it.
Genotropin GoQuick Pen Refrigeration
According to Pfizer, the manufacturer of Genotropin, Genotropin GoQuick Pens (5 mg green pen and 12 mg purple pen) must be refrigerated.
The pens come with disposable multi-dose two-chamber cartridges. Prior to first use, the Genotropin is in a powder form in the top chamber of the cartridge while the diluent is in the bottom chamber.
Once you insert the cartridge into the pen for injection and start the pen, the medicine is mixed. Therefore, from now on, it must be refrigerated between injections and used within 28 days max. After 28 days, you must throw away the cartridge, even if there is still Genotropin inside.
Refrigeration temperatures for Genotropin must be between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). Make sure the temperature inside your refrigerator is neither too high nor too low, as freezing could also destroy your medicine.
Related article: At what temperatures should you store refrigerated medications?
Genotropin MiniQuick Refrigeration
The Genotropin MiniQuick injection device is a disposable and prefilled syringe for single use (one dose only). It’s pre-measured according to your doctor’s prescription and comes in a 7-day supply package.
Like the Genotropin reusable pens, the MiniQuick device contains a 2-chamber cartridge (but it's not replaceable) with Genotropin powder in one chamber and the liquid diluent in the other. The medicine is automatically mixed when you prepare the MiniQuick syringe for your injection.
According to the manufacturer, here’s how you should store and refrigerate your Genotropin MiniQuick devices:
- Before mixing the growth hormone powder, you can store Genotropin MiniQuick devices in the refrigerator (between 36°F and 46°F / 2°C and 8°C) or at room temperature (between 68°Fand 77°F / 20°C and 25°C) for up to 3 months.
- Once Genotropin powder has been mixed with its diluent, it becomes unstable and must be injected immediately. If not, you must keep it refrigerated (between 36°F and 46°F / 2°C and8°C) and use it within 24 hours maximum.
How long does Somatropin last in the fridge?
Somatropin is the active ingredient sold under the brand name Genotropin. When delivered at the pharmacy, it comes in a 2-chamber container with a powder in one chamber and a diluent in the other.
How long Somatropin or Genotropin can last in the fridge depends on whether they’ve been mixed with the diluent or not. Simply put:
- Prior to mixing, Genotropin (or somatropin) can last up to 3 months in a refrigerator (or until the expiration date) or one month at room temperature.
- After reconstitution (mixing), Genotropin (or somatropin) can last 24 hours in the refrigerator with a MiniQuick device or 28 days in the fridge with the GoQuick pen device. The difference is that the MiniQuick device does not contain any preservatives, whereas the pen does.
What happens if Genotropin is not refrigerated?
While injecting Genotropin that has not been refrigerated should not poison you, it may have severe consequences for your or your child's health. The main risk is that you'd be injecting a growth hormone with little or no effect.
Indeed, letting human growth hormones get too hot or too long (freezing temperatures) over extended periods of time decreases their effectiveness.
How long can Genotropin stay out of the fridge?
Again, how long you can leave your Genotropin unrefrigerated depends on your device (GoQuick pen or MiniQuick) and the state of the medicine (reconstituted or not). However, here are the main guidelines:
Genotropin cartridges for GoQuick Pens:
Before first use (reconstitution), the cartridges must be stored in their outer carton (so they’re protected from light):
- in the refrigerator until their expiration date;
- or at room temperature (maximum 77°C / 25°C) for a maximum of one month.
After reconstitution (mixing), the GoQuick Pen Genotropin cartridges must be stored:
- in the refrigerator for up to 28 days max
Genotropin MiniQuick devices:
Before reconstitution, the prefilled Genotropin MiniQuick injection devices can last up to 3 months out of the refrigerator at room temperature (maximum 77°C / 25°C).
However, once the solution has been reconstituted (mixed), the somatropin inside becomes very unstable as there’s no preservative. Therefore, it should be injected immediately or kept inside the refrigerator for a maximum of 24 hours. It cannot be left unrefrigerated.
How to tell if Genotropin has gone bad?
If you follow the storage instructions from the manufacturer and keep your medicine refrigerated as it should, there's no reason your Genotropin should go bad.
Once reconstituted, Genotropin looks like a clear solution. If it looks cloudy, has changed color, or has particles in it, do not use it. These may be signs it has gone bad. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
Never use Genotropin past its expiration date on the label.
Do not use it if the medicine looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has particles. Instead, call your pharmacist for new medicine. Throw away any Genotropin left over after the expiration date on the label has passed.
How to keep Genotropin cool while traveling?
Traveling with refrigerated medications like Genotropin or other human growth hormones can be challenging. But your medical condition and treatment should never be a break to living your life the way you want.
Hundreds of thousands of people travel daily with chronic health conditions requiring refrigerated drugs. They're doing just fine with a few tips and the right accessories!
When traveling with Genotropin, you must ensure it's kept refrigerated at all times, especially if it has been reconstituted and you’re using the GoQuick multi-dose pen.
At 4AllFamily, we've spent the last few years designing the perfect solutions for people traveling with refrigerated drugs. So we have a portable travel fridge for your medicine, whether you're an off-the-beaten-track adventurer, a beach resort enjoyer, or a business traveler
Please browse through our catalog here or drop us a message so we can help you out!
If you’re traveling with Genotropin or other human growth hormones, here are a few articles you may also want to read:
Related article: How to travel with refrigerated medications?
Related article: Tips for traveling with medications internationally.
Related article: How to travel with syringes and injectable drugs?