The oral clonidine test was compared with the standard intravenous insulin hypoglycaemia test in 41 children and adolescents with short stature. In those without growth hormone deficiency clonidine provoked a significantly higher mean plasma growth hormone response and gave fewer false subnormal responses (apparent growth hormone deficiency) than insulin. Children with psychosocial deprivation had poorer responses to both tests. In view of these findings and the absence of unacceptable side effects with clonidine it is concluded that the oral administration of this alpha-adrenergic stimulant is a safe and reliable alternative test of growth hormone release.
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