Growth Hormone

Childhood is marked by a phase of rapid growth, culminating in the attainment of adult height in late adolescence. In some children, illness, poor nutiriton, inadequate rest, use of medications (steroids in particular) result in poor growth. These kids end up as short adults.

Other children, despite being healthy, may be short for age. This is called idiopathic short stature (ISS), for which recombinant human growth hormone may be beneficial.

In 2003, Food and Drug Administration in the US approved the use of growth hormone for treating ISS. There are now studies showing the benefit of growth hormone therapy in these children. The chart on the right shows a spectacular increase in vertical growth in a child identified to be suffering from ISS. From being significantly shorter than his peers, this child after treatment has attained a more respectable height.