Five years of growth hormone treatment in children with Prader-Willi syndrome. Swedish National Growth Hormone Advisory Group

A C Lindgren, E M Ritzén
Acta Paediatrica. Supplement 1999, 88 (433): 109-11
The authors have followed 18 prepubertal children (3-12 years of age) with Prader-Willi syndrome during 5 years of growth hormone (GH) treatment. Initially, all the children participated in a randomized, controlled GH trial, conducted to assess the effects of GH treatment on growth, body composition and behaviour. GH was administered to group A (n = 9) at a dose of 0.1 IU/kg/day (0.033 mg/kg/day) for 2 years. Group B (n = 9) was untreated for the first year, but the children were given GH at a dose of 0.2 IU/kg/day (0.066 mg/kg/day) during the second year. Thereafter, all children stopped GH treatment for 6 months and were then restarted with GH at a dose of 0.1 IU/kg/day (0.033 mg/kg/day). During the first year of GH treatment, there was a dramatic increase in height SDS in both groups. The attained height percentile was maintained during the continued GH treatment. Five years after the start of GH treatment, mean height SDS is still above average for age. Four children have reached final height, all within 2 SD of target height. During the first year of GH treatment, body mass index (BMI) SDS decreased significantly from 3.0 to 1.5 SDS in group A and from 2.8 to 1.2 SDS in group B, but it increased again during the 6-month period without treatment. Following the restart of GH treatment, BMI SDS has stabilized at 1.7 SDS for group A and 2.5 SDS for group B. In 16 of 18 patients, fasting insulin, glucose and the A1c fraction of glycosylated haemoglobin remained within normal ranges during 5 years of GH treatment. Following a period of rapid weight gain, two children have developed non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Glucose homeostasis returned to normal when GH treatment was withdrawn. In conclusion, GH treatment has a proven favourable effect on growth and body composition in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome. Treatment should be individualized, and close surveillance of glucose homeostasis is needed, especially if the patient is severely obese.

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