Growth Hormone Therapy Increases Kids' Height
Study Shows Therapy Is Effective Even in Children Who Aren't Deficient in Growth Hormones
WebMD News Archive
Growth Hormone and Height: Second Opinion
The study is called an important one by Wayne Moore, MD, section chief of
pediatric endocrinology at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics and professor
of pediatrics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Though there has been little argument in the medical community about
treating children known to be deficient in growth hormone, there have been
questions about whether those not deficient would gain any benefit from the
treatment, he says.
The new study, he says, "proves to me conclusively that GH [growth
hormone] therapy is of significant benefit in children who have non-GH
deficient short stature, defined by current criteria," Moore tells
That includes those with ISS and those born small for gestational age.
The goal of growth hormone therapy, Moore says, is to get children to their
"genetic potential" in height, which is determined on an individual
basis by taking into account the mother's and father's heights, and other
"The effects are relatively modest," says David Allen, MD, head of
pediatric endocrinology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. But, he adds,
"For some, 2 inches can be important." It might mean the difference, he
says, between being able to drive easily, for instance, or not.
As promising as the results are, Albertsson-Wikland says the treatment is
not universally recommended for all children with non-GH deficient short
stature. It should only be recommended, Albertsson-Wikland says, for those
predicted to have a good growth response, and only after careful discussion
with the children and parents to decide if the children suffer substantially
from the lack of height.
In ongoing research, the Swedish team has developed prediction models to
help doctors decide which children will respond to treatment. They expect that
report to be published soon.