Intended for healthcare professionals


Growth hormone: uses and abuses

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 15 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:907
  1. Raymond L Hintz, professor of pediatrics (
  1. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

    It has anabolic effects, but its use in ageing and other conditions is not established

    The therapeutic use of human growth hormone was first shown 45 years ago.1 In these years the number of approved and proposed uses of human growth hormone has grown from one to more than a dozen, and the number of patients being treated with it has increased from a handful to tens of thousands worldwide. The officially approved uses of human growth hormone vary from country to country, but it is commonly used for children with growth hormone deficiency or insufficiency, poor growth due to renal failure, Turner syndrome (girls with a missing or defective X chromosome), Prader-Willi syndrome (usually due to uniparental disomy in chromosome 15), and children born small for gestational age with poor growth past 2 years of age (table). Recently the Food and Drug Administration in the United States has also approved the use of human growth hormone …

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