TUESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In short children born small for gestational age, growth hormone therapy may help compensate for reductions in adult height, according to a study published online Aug. 10 in Pediatrics.
Arianna Maiorana, M.D., of the "Rina Balducci" Center of Pediatric Endocrinology in Rome, and a colleague conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of four randomized controlled trials which met the inclusion criteria. A total of 391 children received either growth hormone doses of 33 to 67 µg/kg per day or were untreated.
After about seven years, the researchers found that the growth-hormone group achieved a significantly higher adult height than the control group, by a margin of 0.9 SD scores. They also found that the growth-hormone group achieved a significantly higher mean height gain (1.5 versus 0.25 SD scores). They did not observe any difference between the two growth hormone dose regimens and adult height.
"Whether the reported gain in adult height is of sufficient clinical importance and value to warrant widespread treatment of short children born small for gestational age should be, in our view, the object of debate. In addition, our results show that, to date, only two studies have fulfilled the evidence-based medicine criteria for high quality of evidence and strong recommendation. Additional high-quality long-term randomized controlled trials up to the achievement of adult height are needed to ascertain efficacy and safety of growth hormone therapy in subjects who were born small for gestational age," the authors conclude.