In the past, growth hormone was used to increase the adult height of children with growth hormone deficiency. However, in recent years growth hormone therapy has been approved for several other conditions.
Growth hormone is used in conditions such as:
- Growth hormone deficiency
- Turner syndrome
- Idiopathic short stature
- Noonan syndrome
- Prader Willi syndrome
- Children who are small for gestational age and did not undergo "catch-up" growth
Growth hormone will increase the speed at which your child is growing. This increase helps children reach a height a little taller than if they did not take growth hormone. Each child will respond differently.
Your child will grow faster during the first year of therapy. This growth may be two to three times faster than before therapy. This is called "catch-up" growth. The "catch-up" growth will eventually slow down. Growth hormone also has positive effects on lean body mass by changing fat metabolism. It helps strengthen bones and also helps improve cholesterol.
The therapy requires a daily injection. The shot is given directly under the skin in the arms, legs, lower back or stomach. A nurse will teach you and/or your child how to prepare the medicine and give the shot.
Most children stay on growth hormone treatment for several years to get the most benefit. However, children with growth hormone deficiency may need to stay on this treatment for life.