Emerging options in growth hormone therapy: an update
Stephen F Kemp, J Paul Frindik
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock, AR, USA
Abstract: Growth hormone (GH) was first used to treat a patient in 1958. For the next 25 years it was available only from cadaver sources, which was of concern because of safety considerations and short supply. In 1985, GH produced by recombinant DNA techniques became available, expanding its possible uses. Since that time there have been three indications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for GH-deficiency states and nine indications approved for non-GH-deficiency states. In 2003 the FDA approved GH for use in idiopathic short stature (ISS), which may indirectly cover other diagnoses that have short stature as a feature. However, coverage for GH therapy is usually more reliably obtainable for a specific indication, rather than the ISS indication. Possible future uses for GH therapy could include the treatment of syndromes such as Russell–Silver syndrome or chondrodystrophy. Other non-short-stature indications could include wound healing and burns. Other uses that have been poorly studied include aging and physical performance, in spite of the interest already shown by elite athletes in using GH. The safety profile of GH developed over the past 25 years has shown it to be a very safe hormone with few adverse events associated with it. The challenge for the future is to follow these patients into adulthood to determine whether GH therapy poses any long-term risks.
Keywords: growth hormone, somatotropin, anabolic, short stature
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