Weighing the Use of Growth Hormones for Children

Parents considering treatment for a medically benign condition need to know what it is: daily injections for years until the child’s development is complete, moving the injected spaces in the body . Although some children experience side effects, which may include severe headaches and hip problems, treatment requires repeated doctor visits, X-rays and blood work and, Dr. “Gives a powerful message to the child that something is going wrong with him, fixing what he needs,” Grimberg said.

According to the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the decision to administer growth hormone for idiopathic short stature should be made on a case-by-case basis with careful consideration of the benefits and risks for each child.

Then, what are the benefits and risks? Although manufacturers have supported surveillance drug safety beyond the 10 years mandated by the US government, reporting is voluntary and necessarily incomplete. However, a more reliable assessment is available from Sweden, where population-wide data are collected regularly.

At JAMA Pediatrics in December, pediatric endocrinologists from Karolinska University Hospital reported that 3,408 patients who were treated with recombinant growth hormone as children and adolescents and followed up for 25 years, Risk of developing a cardiovascular event For example, a heart attack or stroke was two-thirds more for men and 50,036 for women than twice as many untreated people, but few people otherwise.

The Swedish discovery follows a report from a research team in Tokyo last June This growth hormone promotes biomedical pathways Stimulates the development of atherosclerosis, which is the basis for most cardiac events.

It is not yet known whether other long-term adverse effects will become apparent in the coming years. Depending on its known action, giving growth hormone when no deficiency is present can increase the risk of cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes. in JAMA An Editorial in Pediatrics, Dr. Grimberg wrote that “indirect evidence suggests that the unwanted effects of growth hormone treatment are potentially sufficient for further study”.

It is equally important for parents to know how high their children can reach in years of daily hormone injections. Although it is impossible to predict in advance for an individual child, the average benefit for children with idiopathic short stature is about two inches in adult height. Dr. Grimberg suggested that if there is no measurable benefit within one year of therapy, parents should consider stopping it.

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