The advent of the production of large quantities of recombinant growth hormone (GH) has made it possible to have sufficient material to assess its efficacy in adult growth hormone deficiency (GHD). Although some studies have shown that patients who are severely deficient benefit from GH therapy, the spectrum of GHD is broad, and the degree of deficiency at times is very difficult to define. In some cases, benefit is not easily quantified, and some studies have claimed benefits that, although statistically significant, are either not clinically important or are so marginal as to be questionable in terms of cost, difficulty of administration and potential risks. The purpose here is to identify the current problems in the diagnosis of GHD, to discuss the rationale for GH therapy and to assess the potential effects of GHD as well as the benefits of GH therapy in GHD adults. We will include a commentary as to which effects appear more robust than others and which are likely to result in the greatest patient benefit. Finally, some attention will be paid to long-term safety issues that should be monitored to ensure that this medication is safe even for the patients with the greatest need.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism