3 years ago

Growth hormone prescribing and initial BMI SDS: Increased biochemical adverse effects and costs in obese children without additional gain in height

Matthew Peak, Victoria Price, Jennifer Bellis, Daniel B. Hawcutt, Paul Newland, Paul Richardson, Jo Blair, Anne Povall

by Daniel B. Hawcutt, Jennifer Bellis, Victoria Price, Anne Povall, Paul Newland, Paul Richardson, Matthew Peak, Jo Blair


Recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) treatment in children is usually prescribed using actual body weight. This may result in inappropriately high doses in obese children.


Retrospective audit of all paediatric patients treated with rhGH 2010–14 at a tertiary paediatric hospital in the UK. Change in height SDS and IGF-I SDS during the first year of treatment was stratified by initial BMI SDS in a mixed cohort, and a subgroup of GH deficient (GHD) patients. Alternative doses for those BMI SDS ≥2.0 (Obese) were calculated using BSA, IBW and LBW.


354 patients (133 female) received rhGH, including 213 (60.2%) with GHD. Obesity was present in 40 patients (11.3%) of the unselected cohort, and 32 (15.0%) of the GHD cohort. For GHD patients, gain in height SDS was directly related to BMI SDS, except in obese patients (p<0.05). For both the entire cohort, and GHD patients only, IGF-1 SDS was significantly higher in obese patients (p<0.0001 for both groups). Cross sectional data identified 265 children receiving rhGH, 81 (30.5%) with a BMI-SDS ≥1.75. Alternate prescribing strategies for rhGH prescribing in obese patients suggest a saving of 27% - 38% annually.


Gain in IGF-I SDS is greater in obese children, and is likely to be related to relatively higher doses of rhGH. Additional gain in height was not achieved at the higher doses administered to obese children. Alternative dosing strategies in the obese patient population should be examined in rigorous clinical trials.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181567

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