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Clinical data
Trade namesSomavert
License data
  • AU: B3
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ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
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  • none
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass22 129 g·mol−1 (unpegylated)
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Pegvisomant, sold under the brand name Somavert, is a growth hormone receptor antagonist used in the treatment of acromegaly.[1][2][3] It is primarily used if the pituitary gland tumor causing the acromegaly cannot be controlled with surgery or radiation, and the use of somatostatin analogues is unsuccessful, but is also effective as a monotherapy.[4] It is delivered as a powder that is mixed with water and injected under the skin.[5]

Medical uses[edit]

Pegvisomant is indicated for the treatment of adults with acromegaly.[1][2]

Side effects[edit]

Side effects of pegvisomant include reactions at the injection site, swelling of the limbs, chest pain, hypoglycemia, nausea and hepatitis.[6]


Pegvisomant was discovered at Ohio University in 1987 by Distinguished Professor John Kopchick and graduate student Wen Chen at the Edison Biotechnology Institute. After completing clinical trials, it was approved for the treatment of acromegaly by the FDA in 2003 and marketed by Pfizer.[7]


Pegvisomant is a protein containing 191 amino acid residues to which several polyethylene glycol polymers have been covalently bound in order to slow clearance from the blood.[5] The protein is a modified version of human growth hormone designed to bind to and block the growth hormone receptor. It is manufactured using genetically modified E. coli bacteria.[5]

Mechanism of action[edit]

Pegvisomant blocks the action of growth hormone on the growth hormone receptor to reduce the production of IGF-1.[8][9] IGF-1 is responsible for most of the symptoms of acromegaly, and the normalization of its levels can control the symptoms.[10]

Long-term treatment studies with pegvisomant as a monotherapy have shown it to be safe,[4] and effective.[11]


Some studies show the potential of using pegvisomant as an anti-tumor treatment for certain types of cancers.[12][13]


  1. ^ a b c "Somavert- pegvisomant kit". DailyMed. 18 November 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Somavert EPAR". European Medicines Agency. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  3. ^ Schreiber I, Buchfelder M, Droste M, Forssmann K, Mann K, Saller B, Strasburger CJ (January 2007). "Treatment of acromegaly with the GH receptor antagonist pegvisomant in clinical practice: safety and efficacy evaluation from the German Pegvisomant Observational Study". European Journal of Endocrinology. 156 (1): 75–82. doi:10.1530/eje.1.02312. PMID 17218728.
  4. ^ a b Freda PU, Gordon MB, Kelepouris N, Jonsson P, Koltowska-Haggstrom M, van der Lely AJ (March 2015). "Long-term treatment with pegvisomant as monotherapy in patients with acromegaly: experience from ACROSTUDY". Endocrine Practice. 21 (3): 264–74. doi:10.4158/EP14330.OR. PMC 4618502. PMID 25370326.
  5. ^ a b c Scientific Discussion of Somavert (PDF) (Report). European Medicines Agency. 2004.
  6. ^ Feenstra J, van Aken MO, de Herder WW, Feelders RA, van der Lely AJ (June 2006). "Drug-induced hepatitis in an acromegalic patient during combined treatment with pegvisomant and octreotide long-acting repeatable attributed to the use of pegvisomant". European Journal of Endocrinology. 154 (6): 805–6. doi:10.1530/eje.1.02160. PMID 16728538.
  7. ^ "Ohio University, inventors to receive up to $52 million from drug license transactions". Ohio University. 15 February 2011.
  8. ^ Kopchick JJ (April 2003). "Discovery and mechanism of action of pegvisomant". European Journal of Endocrinology. 148 Suppl 2: S21-5. doi:10.1530/eje.0.148s021. PMID 12670297.
  9. ^ Berryman DE, Palmer AJ, Gosney ES, Swaminathan S, DeSantis D, Kopchick JJ (2007). "Discovery and uses of pegvisomant: a growth hormone antagonist". Endokrynologia Polska. 58 (4): 322–9. PMID 18058724.
  10. ^ CEDAC Final REcommendation on Reconsideration and Reasons for Recommendation: Pegvisomant (Somavert - Pfizer Canada Inc.) (PDF) (Report). Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health. 2 August 2006.
  11. ^ Neggers SJ, Muhammad A, van der Lely AJ (2015). "Pegvisomant Treatment in Acromegaly". Neuroendocrinology. 103 (1): 59–65. doi:10.1159/000381644. PMID 25792221. S2CID 19588354.
  12. ^ Evans A, Jamieson SM, Liu DX, Wilson WR, Perry JK (August 2016). "Growth hormone receptor antagonism suppresses tumour regrowth after radiotherapy in an endometrial cancer xenograft model". Cancer Letters. 379 (1): 117–23. doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2016.05.031. PMID 27241667.
  13. ^ Divisova J, Kuiatse I, Lazard Z, Weiss H, Vreeland F, Hadsell DL, et al. (August 2006). "The growth hormone receptor antagonist pegvisomant blocks both mammary gland development and MCF-7 breast cancer xenograft growth". Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 98 (3): 315–27. doi:10.1007/s10549-006-9168-1. PMID 16541323. S2CID 6234700.

External links[edit]

  • "Pegvisomant". Drug Information Portal. U.S. National Library of Medicine.