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Indications for growth hormone therapy in children
  1. Jeremy Kirk
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jeremy Kirk, Department of Endocrinology, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham B4 6NH, UK; jeremy.kirk{at}


Growth hormone (GH) therapy has now been available for over 5 decades, with all GH now biosynthetically produced, and administered by daily injection. Paediatric GH is currently licensed in six different conditions: growth hormone deficiency (GHD), Turner syndrome (TS), small for gestational age (SGA), Prader-Willi-syndrome (PWS), chronic renal insufficiency (CRI), and short stature due to SHOX deficiency; all of these have been ratified by the most recent (2010) NICE review. Whilst the primary purpose of paediatric GH therapy in most indications is to improve short and long-term growth, in others (eg. PWS) it has a role in improvement of body composition. Recent UK national audits indicate approximately 4700 children receiving GH therapy, with approximately 760 new starts a year, with most prescription still via historical growth centres.

There are currently 7 different manufacturers of GH, and while most UK units currently offer free patient choice for GH device, with preliminary evidence indicating that this may improve adherence with therapy, the 30% price difference may limit choice in the future.

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  • Competing interests JK has received lecture fees and also research funding in the past from four of the GH manufacturers, Ferring, NovoNordisk, Merckserono and Pfizer.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.