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IGF-1 Is an Important Factor in the Growth of Children

The Difference between IGF-1 and Growth Hormone

Low levels of hormones, or body messengers, cause some short stature disorders. There are a number of critical hormones that are responsible for growth in children. Two of the most important are growth hormone and IGF-1. The first, growth hormone, is produced in the pituitary gland, which is a pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. Growth hormone travels throughout the body. When it reaches the liver, it binds to receptors on liver cells, stimulating the liver to make a second hormone, insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1.

IGF-1 is a critical factor in the growth of children.

The binding of IGF-1 to its receptors is responsible for the following changes in the body5:

  • Increased protein synthesis
  • Cell growth
  • Increased cartilage formation and growth
  • Skeletal growth

So, even if a child has normal levels of growth hormone, he or she still may not be growing properly. In particular, for children with severe Primary IGFD, exceptionally low levels of IGF-1 may be responsible. Children with normal growth hormone levels and exceptionally low IGF-1 levels may have a condition called severe Primary Insulin-like Growth Factor Deficiency, or severe Primary IGFD.

What does this mean for parents? Above all, it means that children who are tested for short stature disorders should be given a blood test that screens for severe Primary IGFD. The two results together will provide their physician with a more complete picture from which to make a more accurate diagnosis.

Indication and Important Safety Information

Who is Increlex® for?
INCRELEX is used to treat children who are very short for their age because their bodies do not make enough IGF-1. This condition is called severe primary IGF-1 deficiency. INCRELEX should not be used instead of growth hormone.

Who should not use Increlex?
Your child should not take INCRELEX if your child: has finished growing (the growth plates at the end of the bones are closed); has cancer; has other causes of growth failure; OR is allergic to mecasermin or any of the inactive ingredients in INCRELEX. INCRELEX has not been studied in children under 2 years of age and should never be used in newborns. Your child should never receive INCRELEX through a vein.

Before your child takes Increlex, you should tell your child's doctor about:
All of your child's health conditions, including: diabetes, kidney problems, liver problems, allergies, scoliosis (curved spine), pregnancy, or breast-feeding.

All the medicines (prescription and nonprescription), vitamins, and herbal supplements your child takes, especially insulin or other anti-diabetes medicines, which may require dose adjustment of these medicines.

What are possible side effects of increlex (some of which can be serious)?
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Only give your child INCRELEX right before or right after (20 minutes on either side of) a snack or meal to reduce the chances of hypoglycemia. Signs include dizziness, tiredness, restlessness, hunger, irritability, trouble concentrating, sweating, nausea, and fast or irregular heartbeat. Do not give your child INCRELEX if your child is sick or cannot eat.

Severe hypoglycemia may cause unconsciousness, seizures, or death. People taking INCRELEX should avoid participating in high risk activities (such as driving) within 2 to 3 hours after an INCRELEX injection.

Increased pressure in the brain (intracranial hypertension). INCRELEX, like growth hormone, can sometimes cause a temporary increase in pressure within the brain. Symptoms include persistent headache, blurred vision, and nausea with vomiting.

Allergic reactions. Your child may have a mild or serious allergic reaction with Increlex. Call your child's doctor right away if your child gets a rash or hives. Hives, also known as urticaria, appear as a raised, itchy skin reaction. Hives appear pale in the middle with a red rim around them. Hives generally appear minutes to hours after the injection and may sometimes occur at numerous places on the skin. Get medical help immediately if your child has trouble breathing or goes into shock, with symptoms like dizziness, pale, clammy skin, and/or passing out.

Enlarged tonsils. Signs include: snoring, difficulty breathing or swallowing, sleep apnea (a condition where breathing stops briefly during sleep), or fluid in the middle ear.

A bone problem called slipped capital femoral epiphysis. This happens when the top of the upper leg (femur) slips apart from the rest of the bone. Seek immediate medical attention if your child develops a limp or has hip or knee pain.

Worsened scoliosis (caused by rapid growth).

Injection site reactions including: swelling, loss of fat, increase of fat, pain, redness, or bruising. This can be avoided by changing/rotating the injection site at each injection.

Your child's doctor is your primary source of information about treatment. For more information, please talk to your doctor and download and review the full Patient Prescribing Information.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For Patient Product Information, click here.