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Growth hormone in children with idiopathic short stature

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 14 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1248
  1. Kerstin Albertsson-Wikland, professor
  1. 1Göteborg Paediatric Growth Research Centre (GP-GRC), Department of Paediatrics, Institute of Clinical Science, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg (KAW), SE-41685 Gothenburg, Sweden
  1. kerstin.albertsson-wikland{at}

The dose should be tailored to individual responsiveness to optimise growth and minimise harm

Does growth hormone affect the adult height of children with idiopathic short stature? Yes, according to the linked systematic review by Deodati and Cianfarani (doi:10.1136/bmj.c7157).1 The review included three randomised controlled trials of growth hormone, published between 1998 and 2008,2 3 4 and seven non-randomised trials of growth hormone published between 1995 and 2002. Children with idiopathic short stature in the studies were defined as prepubertal short children, born at an appropriate size for gestational age. However, information on size at birth was rarely available, so children who were small for gestational age may have been included.5


The review found that the overall adult height of children treated with growth hormone was 0.65 standard deviation (SD) score higher than that of controls (about 4 cm) and they become 0.94 SD score taller than their parents. The overall height gain was 1.2 SD score in children treated with growth hormone versus 0.34 SD score in children not treated with growth hormone (difference 0.8 SD score), with a large interindividual variation in growth response, ranging from 0 to 3 SD score. At group level, growth hormone had a dose dependent effect on …

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