This updated guideline provides evidence-based recommendations regarding the identification, screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for a range of individuals with various causes of adult growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and patients with childhood-onset GHD transitioning to adult care.
The update summarizes the most current knowledge about the accuracy of available GH–stimulation tests, safety of recombinant human GH (rhGH) replacement, unapproved uses of rhGH related to sports and aging, and new developments such as long-acting GH preparations that use a variety of technologies to prolong GH action. Recommendations offer a framework for physicians to manage patients with GHD effectively during the transition to adult care and adulthood.
Establishing a correct diagnosis is essential before consideration of replacement therapy with rhGH. Since the diagnosis of GHD in adults can be challenging, GH–stimulation tests are recommended based on individual patient circumstances and use of appropriate GH cut-points. Available GH– stimulation tests are discussed regarding variability, accuracy, reproducibility, safety, and contraindications, among other factors.
The regimen for starting and maintaining rhGH treatment now uses individualized dose adjustments, which has improved effectiveness and reduced reported side effects, dependent on age, gender, body mass index, and various other individual characteristics. With careful dosing of rhGH replacement, many features of adult GHD are reversible and side effects of therapy can be minimized. Scientific studies have consistently shown rhGH therapy to be beneficial for adults with GHD, including improvements in body composition and quality of life, and have demonstrated the safety of short- and long-term rhGH replacement.