If you’ve been prescribed Humatrope, understanding how to properly use and store the HumatroPen is key to effective growth hormone therapy. What is Humatrope? How to use the HumatroPen injection device? How to store it or travel with it? Our answers to all your questions!
What is Humatrope?
Humatrope is a brand name for a form of synthetic human growth hormone (HGH) made by Eli Lilly and Company. The active ingredient is somatropin. Humatrope is identical in structure to naturally occurring human growth hormone and is produced using recombinant DNA technology.
HGH is a hormone naturally produced in the pituitary gland of the brain. It is essential for growth, body composition, cell repair, and metabolism. People who don't have or don't produce enough natural HGH need injections of synthetic HGH.
Somatropin is FDA-approved to treat various conditions, including growth hormone deficiency in children and adults, Turner syndrome, idiopathic short stature, and short stature homeobox-containing gene deficiency (SHOX).
Like any medication, Humatrope may have side effects, including common ones, such as injection site reactions, headaches, muscle pain, and joint stiffness. Severe side effects can include fatigue, changes in vision, a significant increase in thirst and urination, and severe abdominal pain. Injectable growth hormones can only be delivered with a medical prescription. Never take Humatrope without your doctor’s supervision.
Regular check-ups are necessary while taking Humatrope to monitor progress and adjust the dosage.
Related article: Human Growth Hormone Injection, A Comparison of Different Brands.
How is Humatrope administered?
Humatrope is a subcutaneous injection (in the fatty tissue just under the skin). It is generally administered once daily, often in the evening. However, frequency and dosage may vary depending on the patient (age, weight, health status, etc.) and the condition being treated.
Like most injectable drugs, Humatrope was available in small glass vials and administered with a syringe. However, it now comes in easy-to-use injection devices called HumatroPens.
Humatrope injector pens are available in different strengths: 6 mg (orange cartridge), 12 mg (blue cartridge), and 24 mg (purple cartridge). The pens are reusable with different cartridges, each containing several doses of Somatropin.
They must be used with disposable needles (not included in the package).
Related article: Why You Should Store Somatropin In The Fridge?
How to Use a Humatrope Pen
The Humatrope pen is designed to make the injection more comfortable and to increase dose accuracy. Here's a general guide on how to use it, but please refer to the user instructions provided with your pen and cartridges, or consult with your healthcare provider if you have doubts about how to use your injection device:
Related article: Does Omnitrope Need to be Refrigerated?
Step 1. Prepare your HumatroPen
First, wash your hands thoroughly. Check the Humatrope cartridge to make sure it's the correct medication and that it's not expired. Make sure the solution is clear, with no particles or discoloration (these could indicate your growth hormone has gone bad).
Step 2. Insert the cartridge
First, follow the mixing instructions in the Humatrope cartridge kit.
Then, remove the pen cap and insert the Humatrope cartridge into the pen as per the instructions provided. Be sure to secure it properly.
When your cartridge is already in use, take the pen out of the refrigerator and let it sit for a few minutes at room temperature before the injection to avoid pain. Then, attach a new needle, skip step 4, and do step 5 directly.
Step 3. Attach a new needle
Take a new disposable needle and remove its paper tab. Then, screw the needle onto the pen, remove the outer needle cap, and keep it on the side. You then remove the inner needle cap and dispose of it.
Step 4. Prime your Humatrope pen
Before using a new Humatrope cartridge for the first time, you must remove air bubbles and ensure the pen is ready for use.
To prime your Humatrope pen and set up a new cartridge, dial the dose knob to the priming dose (2.5 mg for Humatrope 12mg, 5 mg for Humatrope 24 mg). Then, hold the pen with the needle pointing up and press the injection button until the dose knob returns to zero. A drop of medicine should appear from the needle tip. If not, repeat the process until it does, as indicated in the instructions.
This step must be done only once with a new cartridge. Do not prime your Humatrope pen for daily use again (go straight to the next step).
Step 5. Select your dose
Set your prescribed dose of Humatrope using the dose knob. Do not attempt to change the dose while injecting, and always double-check that it matches your prescription.
Step 6. Inject Humatrope subcutaneously.
Clean the injection site with an alcohol swab or soap and water. Pinch a fold of skin and insert the needle at a 90-degree angle in a quick motion.
Press the injection button fully and hold the button down while you slowly count to 5 to ensure the entire dose is delivered. Remove the needle from the skin and release the skin fold.
After the injection, always check that the dose window is back to zero, meaning the complete dose was injected.
Related article: Tips for Storing Norditropin HGH at Home and While Traveling?
Step 7. Remove and dispose of the needle
Carefully replace the outer needle cap, unscrew the needle from the pen, and dispose of it properly in a sharps container. Never try to reuse needles.
Put the HumatroPen cap back on and store your pen in the refrigerator. Only remove the cartridge when it is empty, expired, or needs to be changed.
Remember, these are general instructions. They may vary slightly based on your specific HumatroPen device and instructions given by your healthcare provider. Always refer to the user manual or ask your healthcare provider if you need clarification on any step in the process.
Related article: All You Need To Know About Nutropin AQ!
Where to Inject Humatrope?
Humatrope must be injected subcutaneously into the fatty layer of tissue just beneath the skin. Suitable sites for subcutaneous injections include:
- The front of the upper thighs
- The abdomen, except for the area around the navel (about two inches around)
- The upper, outer buttocks
- The back of the upper arms (if someone else is administering the injection)
These sites have a sufficient layer of fat beneath the skin and are less likely to hit a muscle.
You should rotate injection sites at each Humatrope injection to prevent skin problems like irritation, lumps, or tissue loss. This means not injecting in the same spot each time but moving around different areas. For instance, if you're using the abdomen, you could inject at different spots around the abdomen each time.
Remember, these are general recommendations. Always seek personalized advice from your healthcare provider.
Where not to inject Humatrope?
Avoid injecting Humatrope in the following areas:
- Navel area: Do not inject Humatrope within a 2-inch radius around the navel or belly button. This area can be more sensitive and may also not distribute the medication as effectively.
- Scars or moles: Areas with scars, moles, or any skin irregularities can affect how the medication is absorbed.
- Irritated skin: Do not inject Humatrope into areas of skin that are red, infected, irritated, or have other issues such as a rash or bruises.
- Areas near bones or joints: Do not inject too close to bones, joints, or other less "fatty" places to avoid pain and ensure proper medication absorption.
- Muscles: Injecting Humatrope intramuscularly can be more painful because muscles have more nerve endings. In addition, injecting growth hormone directly into the muscle could lead to faster absorption into your bloodstream.
How to Store Humatrope?
Like many other biological medications, Humatrope is sensitive to heat and light. Therefore, it must be stored in a cool, controlled environment to maintain effectiveness. Refrigeration helps slow down its degradation, keeping it stable and effective.
Humatrope should be stored in the refrigerator before and after mixing:
- New cartridges must be stored under refrigeration at a temperature of 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F) before being prepared or attached to a HumatroPen. They are good until the labeled expiration date. They should not be frozen.
- In-use cartridges attached to a pen must be stored in the refrigerator (inside the pen) between 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). They must be used within 28 days maximum.
Always check the expiration date on the label before use, and never use Humatrope if it's expired or unrefrigerated. If the solution appears cloudy, discolored or contains particles, do not use it.
Humatrope Travel Bags and CoolersTraveling with growth hormones like Humatrope, Nutropin, Norditropin, Genotropin, or others that need to be kept refrigerated
can be challenging, but it is definitely possible with a little planning and the right accessories.
Here are a few tips for traveling with your Humatrope pens and making sure they stay safe in all situations:
- Get a travel fridge for refrigerated drugs like the ones from 4AllFamily. They ensure convenience, safety, and optimal temperature range wherever you go.
- Travel with a letter from your doctor stating that you need to carry Humatrope injections with you. This can be helpful in case you are asked about it at airport security or other checkpoints.
- Ask for your doctor’s advice! As usual, your healthcare provider can provide personalized advice for traveling with Humatrope injections (vaccines, injection schedules in different time zones, etc.). Do not hesitate to ask a few weeks before departure.
What about you? Are you using HumatroPen for HGH injections? What are your thoughts on this device? Share your experience below!