Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Curr Opin Pediatr. 2013 Aug;25(4):509-14. doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e328362c7a2.

Long-term effects of recombinant human growth hormone therapy in children with Prader-Willi syndrome.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin 53792-4108, USA.



Recombinant human growth hormone (hGH) therapy in children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) improves linear growth, body composition, physical strength and agility, and other metabolic parameters. These benefits must be weighed against potential adverse effects, including rare occurrences of sudden death. This review summarizes recent evidence important to a benefit-risk analysis of hGH use in children with PWS.


Studies consistently show that hGH improves stature, body composition, fat percentage and distribution, and other metabolic markers in children with PWS. Preliminary reports of improved cognitive development during hGH have also emerged. Scoliosis progression is influenced by growth rate, but frequency of occurrence and severity are not increased by hGH exposure. PWS genotype does not appear to affect response to hGH. Concerns about hGH-associated sudden death persist, but recent studies show either absence of change in sleep-disordered breathing or improved sleep cardiovascular function during hGH therapy.


Recent studies confirm and expand reported benefits of hGH therapy in children with PWS, including a possible salutary role in cognitive development. These findings support previous assertions that hGH can reduce morbidity and improve function in children with PWS, and suggest that potential risks of such treatment are favorably balanced by its benefits.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk