How Does Korlym Work?

The goal of treatment with Korlym® is to decrease the symptoms of excess cortisol activity. Korlym does not decrease cortisol levels.

The production of cortisol is part of an important process that impacts many systems in your body.

Normal cortisol levels

Cortisol binds to, and activates, cortisol receptors, which are present in almost every cell of your body.

Excess production of cortisol

This delicate process is disrupted when tumors of pituitary, adrenal, or ectopic origin cause excess production of cortisol. This excess cortisol binds to, and activates, an abnormally high number of cortisol receptors. This increased cortisol activity sets off a chain of events that has a negative impact on a number of body systems, which can lead to elevated blood sugar and diabetes.

Korlym competes with cortisol to bind to the cortisol receptors, leading to decreased cortisol activity.


References:

  1. Nieman L, Swearingen B. Cushing’s Syndrome and Cushing’s Disease: Your Questions Answered. New York, NY: The Pituitary Society; 2013.
  2. Raff H, Carroll T. Cushing’s syndrome: from physiological principles to diagnosis and clinical care. J Physiol. 2015;593(3):493-506.
  3. Guaraldi F, Salvatori R. Cushing syndrome: maybe not so uncommon of an endocrine disease. J Am Board Fam Med. 2012;25(2):199-208.
  4. Katznelson L, Loriaux DL, Feldman D, Braunstein GD, Schteingart DE, Gross C. Global clinical response in Cushing’s syndrome patients treated with mifepristone. Clin Endocrinol. 2014;80(4):562-569.
  5. Yuen KCJ, Williams G, Kushner H, Nguyen D. Association between mifepristone dose, efficacy, and tolerability in patients with Cushing syndrome. Endocr Pract. 2015;21(10):1087-1092.

Important Safety Information and Indications IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT KORLYM, INCLUDING IMPORTANT WARNING ON LOSS OF PREGNANCY.

MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT KORLYM® (MIFEPRISTONE) 300 mg TABLETS

Korlym should never be taken by women who are pregnant or who might become pregnant. Taking Korlym during pregnancy will result in the loss of a pregnancy. A pregnancy test is required before starting Korlym or if treatment is interrupted for more than 14 days. Talk with your doctor about how to prevent pregnancy.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Korlym and certain other medications may affect each other or may cause side effects.

Do not take Korlym if:

  • you are taking certain medications for high cholesterol, such as simvastatin (Zocor®) or lovastatin (Mevacor®), as Korlym may cause a dangerous increase in the level of these medications in the blood
  • you take corticosteroid medications like prednisone to treat a serious medical condition
  • you have experienced unexplained vaginal bleeding, changes in the cells lining your uterus (endometrial hyperplasia), or cancer of the lining of your uterus (endometrial cancer)

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Korlym?

Patients taking Korlym should be monitored for side effects. Potential serious side effects include signs of adrenal insufficiency, low potassium levels, changes to the lining of the uterus, vaginal bleeding, and problems with the electrical system of the heart.

The most common side effects of Korlym include nausea, fatigue, headache, low potassium in the blood, pain in arms and legs (arthralgia), vomiting, swelling of arms and legs (peripheral edema), high blood pressure, dizziness, decreased appetite, and thickening of the lining of the uterus (endometrial hypertrophy).

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all of the possible side effects of Korlym. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist. For medical advice about side effects, call your doctor.

Nursing mothers should discontinue Korlym or discontinue breastfeeding — talk with your doctor to determine if you should take Korlym.

Complete warnings and other important safety information are available in the accompanying full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.

What Is Korlym?

Korlym is a prescription medicine used to treat high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) caused by high cortisol levels in the blood (hypercortisolism) in adults with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome who have type 2 diabetes mellitus or glucose intolerance and who cannot have surgery or for whom surgery has failed. Korlym is not for people who have type 2 diabetes mellitus not caused by Cushing’s syndrome.