Use of Human Growth Hormone in Children

Author: Monica Preboth
Date: August 15, 2000

The Health Technology Advisory Committee (HTAC) has published a report on the use of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) in children with idiopathic short stature. HTAC was established in 1992 by the Minnesota state legislature. It is an independent, nonpartisan advisory body that evaluates new and emerging health care technologies based on existing scientific research and technology assessments.

According to the report, idiopathic short stature results when children are short, compared with others in their age group, for unknown or hereditary reasons. The use of rhGH to treat children with idiopathic short stature appears to have little risk of serious short-term harm, but long-term risks are not yet known. HTAC reports that the benefits of rhGH use in these children have not been determined. While therapy with rhGH appears to increase the growth rate of such children, its effect on final adult height is unclear. Also, it has not been decided whether final height or accelerated growth should be used to measure the success of treatment with rhGH.

HTAC makes the following recommendations for the use of growth hormone to treat idiopathic short stature in children:

* The long-term safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the use of rhGH to treat this condition should be established through additional studies.

* RhGH should be used to treat idiopathic short stature only in controlled settings that generate safety and efficacy data.

* Health care professionals should help parents and children address the problems that stem from idiopathic short stature.

This report (document 000201) and others published by HTAC may be obtained by calling 651-282-6374 or by e-mail (htac@health.state. There is no charge for the reports. All reports are also available on the HTAC Web site at http://www.

COPYRIGHT 2000 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

© 2006,, All Rights Reserved.