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Growth Hormone Deficiency Medications (cont.)

Recombinant Human Growth Hormone

  • Generic/trade names: Somatropin (Genotropin, Humatrope, Nutropin, Saizen), somatrem (Humatrope, Protropin)
  • How recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) works: Purified growth hormone (GH) is manufactured by recombinant DNA technology. RhGH increases the growth rate in children whose long-bone growth is not yet completed.
  • Who should not use these medications
    • People with allergy to rhGH
    • People with respiratory failure
    • People with active cancer
    • People with closed epiphyses (that is, with completed long-bone growth): Some evidence suggests that adults with closed epiphyses and growth hormone deficiency may still benefit from GH replacement; this is not yet a completely settled question
  • Use: rhGH is administered by subcutaneous injections (shallow injections administered just under the skin). The dose is adjusted according to the growth response. Depending on which preparation is prescribed, the dose may be administered 5-7 times a week, every 2 weeks, or once each month.
  • Drug or food interactions: High doses of corticosteroids (for example, prednisone [Deltasone, Meticorten]) inhibit the growth-promoting effects of rhGH. Dose adjustments may be needed for people taking diabetes medications.
  • Side effects: At certain intervals, the doctor will monitor blood sugar levels. Antibodies to rhGH may develop and prevent some individuals from getting a better response.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/8/2014
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The somatotroph cells of the anterior pituitary gland produce growth hormone.

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