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Growth Hormone Beneficial Beyond Increasing Height

Benefits include improved lipid profile and increased bone mineral density

MONDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- Growth hormone has additional benefits besides increasing height in children, including improvements in lipid profile and increases in bone mineral density, according to a review published online March 22 in Pediatrics.

Judith Ross, M.D., from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues reviewed the literature for studies examining metabolic parameters in children treated with biosynthetic human growth hormone (somatropin).

The researchers found that growth hormone can have beneficial effects in addition to increasing height in short children. These include beneficial effects on body composition, improvements in lipid profile, and an increase in bone mineral density. Growth hormone is associated with insulin sensitivity but does not appear to be diabetogenic, does not appear to have adverse cardiac effects in children, and does not appear to affect cancer risk. The study notes that some of these benefits may require continuous treatment beyond reaching adult height.

"With long-term therapy of any kind, the adverse consequences of treatment should also be considered," Ross and colleagues write. "Fortunately, long-term growth hormone treatment seems to be safe and well-tolerated."

Several authors reported advisory, consulting and financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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