Growth Hormone for Turner Syndrome
A Treatment to Help Girls Gain Height
Human growth hormone is a standard part of treatment for Turner syndrome (TS) that received US Food and Drug Administration approval in 1996. Today, it is considered a safe and effective way to reverse some of the signs of Turner syndrome.
The primary purpose of growth hormone is to regain height in girls with TS. Without growth hormone treatment, the average height of an adult woman with Turner syndrome is 4 ft 8 in. In fact, girls who do not receive growth hormone are typically about 8 inches shorter than their predicted height would be with growth hormone.
If treatment starts early and is maintained, it's possible for girls with Turner syndrome to reach a normal height. That's why recognizing the signs and symptoms of Turner syndrome is so important.
Growth hormone is delivered via injections several times a week. Common brands of growth hormone include Genotropin, Humatrope, and Nutropin. The generic version of human growth hormone is called somatropin. Your doctor will monitor your growth closely to determine the best dosage for you.
Side effects of growth hormone are rare but can be serious. Regular visits to your doctor will help manage these possible complications:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Insulin resistance/ high blood sugar
- Worsening of scoliosis: Growth hormone may cause abnormal spinal curves to progress
Growth hormone not only treats delayed physical growth but also delayed sexual development (another main fixture of Turner syndrome). If a girl does not reach puberty at the normal age (usually around age 12 or 13), you can discuss the possibility of beginning estrogen replacement therapy with your doctor to help prompt healthy sexual development and possibly boost any pubertal growth spurt.