Acthar is a prescription medicine for people with symptomatic sarcoidosis.

Acthar is a prescription medicine for people with symptomatic sarcoidosis.

Common Sarcoidosis Treatments

Currently there is no cure for sarcoidosis. Even so, there are things you can do that may help to manage it. To start with, it might help to adopt some healthy habits. For example, eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, and avoid smoking. You should always talk to your doctor before making a change to your diet. Get more healthy tips here.

Taking medication may also help manage your symptoms. That’s why it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any symptoms. He or she can help you determine the type of treatment, if any, that may be right for you. See a list of questions to ask your doctor.

Different treatments may be appropriate for different people. Treatment will depend on the types of symptoms you experience. It may also depend upon which parts of your body are affected. The medications listed below are not all the treatments used to treat symptomatic sarcoidosis. Your healthcare provider may try different options to find the one that’s best for you.


Corticosteroids (also known as steroids) are FDA-approved to treat sarcoidosis. They are usually taken in pill form. In many cases they are also the first treatment to be prescribed for symptoms of sarcoidosis. These medications work to help decrease the immune system's response.


There are other treatments for sarcoidosis. These include immunosuppressant and antimalarial medications. These treatments are not specifically approved for sarcoidosis. Even so, they may be given in place of steroids. They may also be taken with steroids. Your healthcare provider may lower your steroid dose when another type of medication is added.


H.P. Acthar® Gel, commonly known as Acthar, is a prescription treatment option approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for symptomatic sarcoidosis.

Acthar may help reduce inflammation in a different way than steroids. It may also help the body produce its own natural steroid hormones.* It is a self-injectable medication. Acthar is designed to provide a prolonged release of the medication after it is injected.

*While the exact way that Acthar works in the body is unknown, further studies are being conducted. This information is based on laboratory data and how it relates to patient benefit is unknown.

Common side effects of Acthar are similar to those seen with steroid medications and may include fluid retention, change in glucose tolerance, increased blood pressure, behavior or mood changes, increased appetite, or weight gain. These are not all of the possible side effects of Acthar. For more information, talk to your healthcare provider and please see the Important Safety Information and full Prescribing Information.

Get more information on sarcoidosis, its symptoms, and treatment with Acthar. Go >

Get questions to ask your healthcare provider about treatment options. Go >

Important Safety Information

DO NOT take Acthar until you have talked to your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:


Important Safety Information


DO NOT take Acthar until you have talked to your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:

  • A skin condition called scleroderma
  • Bone density loss or osteoporosis
  • Any infections, including fungal, bacterial, or viral
  • Eye infections, such as ocular herpes simplex
  • Had recent surgery
  • Stomach ulcers or a history of stomach ulcers
  • Heart failure
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Allergies to pig-derived proteins
  • Have been given or are about to receive a live or live attenuated vaccine
  • Suspected congenital infections (in children under 2 years of age)
  • If you have been told that you have Cushing’s syndrome or Addison’s disease

Tell your doctor about any other health problems that you have. Give your doctor a complete list of medicines you are taking. Include all nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements that you are taking.

What is the most important information I should know about Acthar?

  • Never inject Acthar directly into a vein
  • Always inject Acthar beneath the skin or into the muscle
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for injecting Acthar
  • Never stop treatment suddenly unless your doctor tells you to do so
  • Try not to miss any scheduled doctor’s appointments. It is important for the doctor to monitor you while taking Acthar

Acthar and corticosteroids have similar side effects.

  • You may be more likely to get new infections. Also, old infections may become active. Tell your doctor if you see any signs of an infection. Contact your doctor at the first sign of an infection or fever. Signs of infection are fever, cough, vomiting, or diarrhea. Other signs may be flu or any open cuts or sores
  • When taking Acthar long term, your adrenal gland may produce too much of a hormone called cortisol. This can result in symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome. This may cause increased upper body fat, a rounded “moon” face, bruising easily, or muscle weakness
  • Sometimes when you stop taking Acthar long term, your body may not produce enough natural cortisol. This is called “adrenal insufficiency.” Your doctor may prescribe a steroid medicine to protect you until the adrenal gland recovers
  • You might develop high blood pressure, or retain too much fluid. As a result of this, your doctor may recommend some changes to your diet, such as eating less salt and taking certain supplements
  • Vaccines may not work well when you are on Acthar. Talk to your doctor about which vaccines are safe to use when you are taking Acthar
  • Acthar may hide symptoms of other diseases. This can make it more difficult for your doctor to make a diagnosis if something else is going on
  • Stomach or intestinal problems. Acthar may increase the risk of bleeding stomach ulcers. Tell your doctor if you have stomach pains, bloody vomit, bloody or black stools, excessive tiredness, increased thirst, difficulty breathing, or increased heart rate
  • Taking Acthar can make you feel irritable or depressed. You may also have mood swings or trouble sleeping
  • If you have other conditions, such as diabetes or muscle weakness, you may find they get worse
  • You might develop certain eye conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or optic nerve damage
  • Your body may develop allergies to Acthar. Signs of allergic reaction are:
    • Skin rash and itching
    • Swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or throat
    • Trouble breathing
  • Long-term Acthar use can affect growth and physical development in children. This can be reversed when Acthar is no longer needed
  • Acthar may cause osteoporosis (weak bones)
  • Acthar might harm an unborn baby. Therefore, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant

What are the most common side effects of Acthar?

The most common side effects of Acthar are similar to those of steroids. They include:

  • Fluid retention
  • High blood sugar
  • High blood pressure
  • Behavior and mood changes
  • Changes in appetite and weight

These are not all of the possible side effects of Acthar.

Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you, or that does not go away. Call your doctor or pharmacist for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA. Call 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit You may also report side effects by calling 1-800-778-7898.

Please see full Prescribing Information.