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Growth Hormone (Parenteral route)

Somatrem and somatropin are man-made versions of human growth hormone. Growth hormone is naturally produced by the pituitary gland and is necessary to stimulate growth in children. Man-made growth hormone may be used in children who have certain conditions that cause failure to grow normally. These conditions include growth hormone deficiency (inability to produce enough growth hormone), kidney disease, Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), and Turner's syndrome. Growth hormone is also used in adults to treat growth failure and to treat weight loss caused by acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

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What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

A systematic review of growth hormone for hip fractures

Bibliographic details: Yang S, Cao L, Cai S, Yuan J, Wang J.  A systematic review of growth hormone for hip fractures. Growth Hormone and IGF Research 2012; 22(3-4): 97-101 Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S109663741200024X

Recombinant human growth hormone for idiopathic short stature: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Gao L, Xu J, Yang F, Kang DY.  Recombinant human growth hormone for idiopathic short stature: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2012; 12(12): 1516-1521 Available from: http://www.cjebm.org.cn/en/oa/DArticle.aspx?type=view&id=20121214

Growth hormone for intestinal adaptation in patients with short bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Bibliographic details: Guo MX, Li YS, Fan L, Li JS.  Growth hormone for intestinal adaptation in patients with short bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Current Therapeutic Research 2011; 72(3): 109-119 Available from: http://www.currenttherapeuticres.com/article/S0011-393X(11)00040-3/abstract

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Summaries for consumers

Human Growth Hormone for Children With Cystic Fibrosis: A Review of the Research for Parents and Caregivers

This guide is for anyone who takes care of a child or teen with cystic fibrosis (CF) and helps make decisions about treatment. You may have heard about using human growth hormone (HGH) for children with CF and want to know more about the research.

Growth hormone in in‐vitro fertilisation

Before starting an in‐vitro fertilisation cycle, some women need help to ovulate and the use of growth hormone therapy may help these women. This aims to reduce the use of gonadotropin therapy to stimulate ovulation, a hormone that can cause multiple pregnancy. The review of trials found no evidence that growth hormone helps improve birth rates in women who are undergoing ovulation induction prior to in‐vitro fertilisation. However there is some evidence of increased pregnancy and birth rates in women who are considered 'poor responders' to in‐vitro fertilisation. More research is needed.

Synthetic human growth hormone for treating X‐linked hypophosphatemia (or Vitamin D resistant rickets) in children

Standard treatment of X‐linked hypophosphatemia can heal rickets but does not always raise the level of phosphates in the blood or return growth levels to normal. It is unclear whether combining human growth hormone therapy with standard treatment improves the phosphate levels, growth rates and bone mineral density. Only one small trial with five children was included in this review. The human growth hormone treatment improved the z score for height and briefly increased the level of phosphates in the blood. However, we found no conclusive evidence that favours the use of human growth hormone treatment for this condition. There have not been enough trials of human growth hormone treatment for this condition and more research is needed.

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