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Growth Hormone Deficiency Medications

What Is Growth Hormone Deficiency?

Growth hormone deficiency results from a disruption in the release of growth hormone (GH) from the pituitary gland (a gland at the base of the brain) or a disruption in other hormones from the hypothalamus (a part of the brain) that signal GH release.

What Causes Growth Hormone Deficiency?

Growth hormone deficiency may be congenital (an individual is born with the deficiency), or it may be acquired later in life. Congenital growth hormone deficiency may be caused by an abnormal pituitary gland, or it may be associated with other congenital syndromes. Acquired growth hormone deficiency may result from trauma, infections, pituitary and related tumors, radiation to the brain, brain cancer, or other diseases.

What Are the Risks of Growth Hormone Deficiency?

About 5% of children with growth hormone deficiency also have episodes in which blood sugar levels are low, especially during infancy. The low blood sugar levels resolve (get better) once growth hormone therapy is started. Other pituitary hormones may also be affected, and conditions resulting from other pituitary hormone deficiencies can even cause death. Adults with untreated growth hormone deficiency have problems such as too much body fat and not enough lean body mass, decreased bone mineralization (the process by which minerals are absorbed into bones), and increased heart disease risks (particularly because of increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels).

Medical Treatment for Growth Hormone Deficiency

Depending on the specific deficiency, growth hormone (GH) or growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) may be prescribed by a doctor specializing in growth hormone deficiency (an endocrinologist). If other pituitary deficiencies are present, they may need to be treated first in order for GH replacement therapy to be effective.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/8/2014
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