What is the role of growth hormone (GH) in the treatment of hyposomatotropism of aging (somatopause)?

Updated: Apr 14, 2020
  • Author: Angela Gentili, MD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Whether the decrease in GH secretion should be treated is debatable. [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] In the United States, adult GH replacement is approved for acquired pituitary deficiency, proven prior childhood-onset GHD, and for the treatment of muscle wasting in HIV-infected adults. [13] Guidelines recommend GH replacement therapy only be offered to those patients diagnosed with GH-deficiency and an established etiology for the disorder. [14, 15]

The American Geriatrics Society 2015 updated Beers criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults make a strong recommendation against the use of GH in older adults because "the impact on body composition is small and associated with edema, arthralgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, gynecomastia and impaired fasting glucose." The only exception is its use as hormone replacement after pituitary gland removal. [16]

Discussion in this article is limited to hyposomatotropism of aging. For more information, see Growth Hormone Deficiency in Adults and Hypopituitarism (Panhypopituitarism).

For patient education information, see the Thyroid & Metabolism Center as well as Growth Hormone Deficiency Medications and Growth Hormone Deficiency FAQs.

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