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Increlex Uses

Individuals age 2 to 18 may receive Increlex if they have a deficiency in a certain growth hormone. Specifically, Increlex is used for those who have growth failure due to low levels of primary insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). It is also approved for use in those who are missing the gene that makes growth hormones. Off-label uses include the treatment of diabetes or Lou Gehrig's disease.


What Is Increlex Used For?

Increlex® (mecasermin) is a prescription medication approved to treat children with growth failure due to a condition known as primary insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) deficiency. It is also used to treat children who are missing the gene that makes growth hormones and have become resistant to growth-hormone treatment.
IGF-1 is a hormone that naturally occurs in the body, and is important for childhood growth, including cartilage and bone growth. The majority of IGF-1 is made by the liver. Blood levels of IGF-1 are low at birth, peak around puberty, and then drop to about half the puberty levels by the age of 20.
The growth hormone is another naturally occurring hormone that is important for normal growth. It is made in the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain. Growth hormones are responsible for telling the liver to make IGF-1.
Short stature is a term used to describe someone who is significantly below the average height expected for their age and sex. Children can be below normal height for a variety of reasons, and many times the reason has nothing to do with a medical problem. However, some children are shorter than average due to a medical condition.
One reason a child may be short for their age is because their body doesn't make enough IGF-1. When IGF-1 levels are low, but growth hormone levels are normal to high, a child is said to have primary IGF-1 deficiency (IGFD). In severe primary IGFD, IGF-1 levels are exceptionally low, and children are very short for their age. Severe IGFD is a relatively rare condition.
Growth hormone levels may be normal while IGF-1 levels are low. This can happen for a few different reasons, including:
  • Problems with the growth hormone receptor. If growth hormone cannot properly bind to its receptor on the liver, it cannot stimulate the liver to make IGF-1.
  • Problems with the signaling process. Even if growth hormones bind to the receptors, if the message that is sent to the liver cells is not sent correctly, the cells may not make IGF-1 properly.
  • Problems with the IGF-1 gene. The IGF-1 gene tells cells to make IGF-1. If there is a problem with the gene, the cells may not make IGF-1 correctly.
Increlex contains a laboratory-made version of IGF-1. It works in the same way as the IGF-1 made by the body, and thus can be used to replace IGF-1 in children who do not have enough of the hormone.
Increlex can also be prescribed to treat children who have too little growth hormone (growth hormone deficiency) due to growth hormone gene deletion (they are missing the gene that tells the body to make growth hormones). These children would normally be treated with growth-hormone treatment.
However, some children who receive growth-hormone treatment develop antibodies against growth hormones (antibodies are proteins made by the immune system that are sent to destroy foreign substances in the body). When children develop growth-hormone antibodies, they become resistant to growth-hormone treatment. Increlex can be used in these children.
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Increlex Medication Information

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