What's your experience with growth hormone treatment?

My son was always pretty low on the growth curve, and by his three year pediatric check-up he’d completely fallen off of the chart.

The pediatrician referred us to an endocrinologist who ordered some blood work done and, when the results came back, was a little alarmed that there was an unmeasurable amount of growth hormones in his system. Certain diseases were ruled out (Addison’s Disease, perhaps? I don’t recall their names at the moment), so the next step was an MRI of his pituitary gland. The results of that came back normal, so the doctor, convinced enough that the next appropriate step was to order daily injections, advanced the process by requesting insurance approval… which they denied, citing a need for a growth hormone stimulation test before they’d approve anything.

The endocrinologist had prepared us for that eventuality and was just trying to spare putting a three year old through the lengthy test, but it was to no avail.

We’re still awaiting the results, as he just had the test yesterday, but are fully expecting them to come back confirming the endocrinologists initial diagnosis and for the treatment to be approved by the insurance company. If they’re not, that’s a very expensive bridge we’ll have to cross at that time, but if they are it’s looking like we’re going to have to give our little peanut a daily shot.

Have you gone through this yourself or with a child, or know someone who has? What’s your experience with these sorts of shots? Side effects? Unforeseen expenses? Did they help, and if so, what were the results? Is/was it a lifelong thing or were the shots only required for a certain time period? Were there any cases where it turned out the person was just a late bloomer and the treatment was unnecessary?

His doctors have all been very helpful and understanding, but they’ve also been very optimistic and convinced from what seems like a very early stage that this treatment was required, so we have our reservations and concerns.

So, what’s been your experience with growth hormone treatment?

The only thing I know about it is, one of my husband’s co-workers has a daughter who recieved these treatments when she was a pre-teen. She began to grow taller as a result and now is a normal-heighted individual. About 5’4" I think. (She’s over 18 years old now).

I will ask her daddy next time I see him.

I was born with Turner Syndrome and received growth hormone shots every day as a kid from three to fourteen. I’m nineteen now. I had no negative side affects and because of them I’m much taller than I would have been. I’m at the top of the estimated height range for people with Turner’s (I’m roughly 5’1"). They became a part of my routine and it wasn’t a big deal to take them. Relatively painless too: shots at the doctor’s hurt more. In fact as a child I was totally okay with my growth hormone shots but loathed shots at the doctors! You give them in fattier parts of the body like the stomach to make it painless and as the kid gets older they can administer it themselves, though I was always too chicken to do that. Good luck and I hope the shots help your son grow up healthy. =)

Thanks, and thank you for sharing :slight_smile:

I’m a little heartened to hear that the shots aren’t that bad because he’s not really a fan of receiving shots at the doctors at all. We were hoping that it would only be an issue at first and that he’d eventually just get used to them, but were expecting a dragged out fight about it and lots of crying every day. Their not being painful would go a long way toward helping him adjust to having them as part of his routine!

Does one typically rotate injection sites, or can the same spot be used over and over again?

You can either rotate or use the same spot, but using only one spot may cause bruising and if done for many years can cause scar tissue, so rotating the spot would probably be better. The shots we used to get came with stickers with the names of body parts used for injection to put on the calender. They probably still do, so you could keep a schedule that way. You can decide with him when he wants the shots in what place. If I’m remembering correctly the spots you’re supposed to use are the stomach, outer thigh, inner thigh, and bottom.

My son is currently receiving these shots. We use something called a “cool click” (you can google it) that uses air to shoot the growth hormone into the site, and makes a much smaller hole than a needle would. It is pretty easy to use, and less painful. He doesn’t like the shots much; he is very slender and so he doesn’t have a lot of fatty places inject into, but he says they hurt less than needles at the doctors and he tolerates them ok.

The shots have had no side effects, other than him getting taller, etc. They have been working very well. He’s been having them daily for a few years now.

Please, feel free to PM me if you’d like to know more. I know how worrisome this time is, but once you settle into a routine with his medication, I think you’ll be surprised what a non-issue it is. :slight_smile:

We just received a call from his endocrinologist that the results were already back (amazingly quickly–they originally said 7-10 days) and that he failed, as expected. She’s going to resubmit everything to the insurance company and hopefully we’ll be able to get approval quickly and be able to move on to the next step soon.

Thanks all for your responses and feel free to keep them coming.

miss elizabeth, check your inbox :slight_smile:

I have two twin nephews who were born prematurely, and underdeveloped. Doctors have known for a long time that both would eventually need kidney transplants well before they reached adulthood.

Hence, both were given growth hormones during early adolescence, just to give them a shot at being a fairly normal size before the inevitable transplants (after which, they were unlikely to grow any more).

Both are nearly 16, they’ve had their transplants, both are pretty big guys, and all seems well.