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What Is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

what is human chorionic gonadotropin

General Information

Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and a recombinant formulation, called choriogonadotropin alfa (r-HCG), is a gonad-stimulating polypeptide hormone normally secreted by the placenta during pregnancy. The non-recombinant products are obtained from the urine of pregnant women. Recombinant-HCG is produced via recombinant DNA techniques in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. The pharmacological actions of HCG and of r-HCG are similar and resemble those of luteinizing hormone (LH); HCG is generally used as a substitute for LH. HCG has been used to treat cryptorchidism or hypogonadotropic hypogonadism in males, sometimes in combination with menotropins or follitropin. Interestingly, HCG was introduced for the treatment of cryptorchidism in 1931, and remained the only hormonal agent available to treat the condition until the 1970's, when gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs also became a treatment option. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is used in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation protocols for infertility in females. Intralesional HCG has been utilized for the treatment of Kaposi's sarcoma, but further clinical trials are required to prove efficacy.

How should I use HCG?

Use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

HCG is given as an injection under the skin or into a muscle. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection. You may be shown how to inject your medicine at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

Use each disposable needle only one time. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

What other drugs will affect HCG?

There may be other drugs that can interact with HCG. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

HCG Warnings

In 2011, the FDA updated the prescription labeling of HCG to include warnings for allergic reactions, some of which can be life-threatening.

Doctors don't consider HCG to be safe if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Are allergic to HCG or any other ingredient found in the drug
  • Are an "early bloomer," entering puberty sooner than normal
  • Have prostate cancer or another cancer that is stimulated by male hormones, or androgens

 

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