Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in childhood causes growth retardation, short stature and significant impairment of adult height. Growth hormone (GH) has been given successfully to these children for > 40 years but only since the introduction of recombinant DNA technology, has enough GH been available for paediatric needs and also for other indications. Adults with pituitary disease and hypopituitarism commonly develop GHD. Adult GHD is associated with an array of body composition alterations and metabolic abnormalities, as well as impaired physical performance and psychological well-being. None of these abnormalities are pathogenic for GHD but they constitute a characteristic clinical syndrome. GH substitution for adult GHD has been approved since 1996 in the US and most Western countries and since then, the clinical experience with this novel therapeutic modality is exponentially increased. GH replacement in this population has resulted in considerable clinical benefits. This article reviews the therapeutic principles, available GH formulations and current treatment guidelines for adult patients with GHD.
- Growth hormone
- Growth hormone deficiency