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HGH: Any docs out there prescribing Human Growth Hormone?

steroids.jpgA story from CNN on HGH

Im wondering if anyone's prescribing HGH as part of their anti-aging or cosmetic practices. I've looked at this before but never implemented it. It's a difficult business since, as I remember, you can't really mark up the HGH since it's a prescription. So you can only charge for physician time. Since the HGH is expensive, it leaves little room for profit.

The story: 

"People come here for generally two reasons; they want to look better, and they want to feel better," Berger says.

While Berger says most of his patients are middle-aged, he's now getting calls from Hollywood 30-somethings wanting HGH and rap artists inquiring about illegal steroids, something he does not offer.

"They feel that part of being a rap star is looking buff and having big muscles, etc., so anything they can do to bring themselves to look like that is going to enhance the whole image," he says.

HGH has been used since the 1950s to help children with growth problems, but it stayed under the radar for other uses until 1990, when Dr. Daniel Rudman reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that men taking a six-month course of HGH reduced their body fat by 14.4 percent while increasing lean muscle mass by 8.8 percent.

The study included just a dozen men, but it inspired a flood of anti-aging literature touting the benefits of growth hormone, along with countless Web sites selling HGH creams and sprays.

Endocrinologists say those products, though, are worthless -- the body can use HGH only when it's injected to treat patients with HGH, Berger says they must be diagnosed with a deficiency of HGH, which happens naturally as the body ages.

Reader Comments (7)

I think you have to be extremely careful to stay on the right side of the law with this. There are numerous examples of physicians & pharmacies going down in flames because of improper HGH prescribing.

I really think you need to have the classic combination of specific signs & symptoms, and low low blood values, as measured by IGF-1. In our age management practice, this occurs rarely.

We do have a few people who are truly HGH deficient - and they get HGH injections, using an FDA-approved form of HGH. The rest do not.

01.25 | Unregistered CommenterTF

Just finished a course in Age-management medicine and TF is right: HGH is only prescribed to those deficient and by injection (and never EVER to an Athlete). If deficient, it usually costs the patient ~$900/month for the med alone.

01.26 | Unregistered CommenterDermaRogue

Those look quite expensive lol :(

02.6 | Unregistered Commenterpregnant

The health risks associated with taking HGH greatly outweigh any benefits. Anybody interested in leading a long, healthy life should stay away. Thanks for the post!

02.25 | Unregistered CommenterRebel8

I think the media has demonized the drug. Now with baseball and congress involved its a really sexy headline. If congress gave two shits about peoples health cigarettes would be outlawed.

Ive seen many pts on HGH, the worst side effects were edema and wrist pain. Symptomatic pts with low or low normal IGF-1 benefit from treatment. It alleviates symptoms. "No long term studies, it may increase risk of cancer". Did anyone ever hear of estrogen? We know estrogen increases CA risk, and its passed out like candy on Halloween. My Mother has yet to be questioned by the Grand Jury. It enhances her performance, she feels better.

Ive seen what the FDA has deemed safe for the population. Thalidomide.
Fen-Phen. Who knows how many free heart attacks Ive handed out in Vioxx samples.

Therapeutic doses of HGH run 1-2 IU qd or qod for replacement. FDA indication for HIV wasting syndrome is 6mg (18 IU) qd. Athletes will take 5-50 times therapeutic doses for desired effect of lean bulked muscles. Do this with Tylenol-liver failure. Motrin-renal failure.

This is not about safety. Its about control, money, political agenda, big pharma...should I keep going.

This is about the Hypocrisy of our Democracy.

Jeff Barson
I have to correct you. Most states allow Clinicians to profit on meds sold as long as they have a dispensing license filed with the DOH and keep a log. Other Doctors charge around $3500 per year for "monitoring fee" $900 lab fee (look at Cenegenics) and get Rx at pharmacy. The big joke here is any Family Practice or IM doc can do this (HGH,Testosterone etc...) for a legit purpose for a $20 co-pay.

My opinion, anti-aging is bullshit.HGH is no more then a good med when
used for legit purpose and pts best interest in mind. I know Docs that use HGH for Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Osteoarthritis.
Even a Derm for rhytids (local injection) with appreciable results I might add. Federal crime for off label use, look at FDA website.

02.29 | Unregistered CommenterFlorida PA

Let's be scientific about this. There is little convincing safety and efficacy data on the use of HGH in healthy elderly. Do a Medline search using these search terms, and examine it for yourself. I've had patients who stopped using HGH, due to its expense - and not much changed!

Here is a useful recent abstract for everyone to consider, from a meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Reading the results - there are only relatively minor changes in body composition noted here - hardly worth the monthly expense of the HGH for the patient.

Systematic review: the safety and efficacy of growth hormone in the healthy elderly.

Liu H, Bravata DM, Olkin I, Nayak S, Roberts B, Garber AM, Hoffman AR.
Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-6019, USA.

BACKGROUND: Human growth hormone (GH) is widely used as an antiaging therapy, although its use for this purpose has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its distribution as an antiaging agent is illegal in the United States. PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of GH therapy in the healthy elderly. DATA SOURCES: The authors searched MEDLINE and EMBASE databases for English-language studies published through 21 November 2005 by using such terms as growth hormone and aging. STUDY SELECTION: The authors included randomized, controlled trials that compared GH therapy with no GH therapy or GH and lifestyle interventions (exercise with or without diet) with lifestyle interventions alone. Included trials provided GH for 2 weeks or more to community-dwelling participants with a mean age of 50 years or more and a body mass index of 35 kg/m2 or less. The authors excluded studies that evaluated GH as treatment for a specific illness. DATA EXTRACTION: Two authors independently reviewed articles and abstracted data. DATA SYNTHESIS: 31 articles describing 18 unique study populations met the inclusion criteria. A total of 220 participants who received GH (107 person-years) completed their respective studies. Study participants were elderly (mean age, 69 years [SD, 6]) and overweight (mean body mass index, 28 kg/m2 [SD, 2]). Initial daily GH dose (mean, 14 microg per kg of body weight [SD, 7]) and treatment duration (mean, 27 weeks [SD, 16]) varied. In participants treated with GH compared with those not treated with GH, overall fat mass decreased (change in fat mass, -2.1 kg [95% CI, -2.8 to -1.35] and overall lean body mass increased (change in lean body mass, 2.1 kg [CI, 1.3 to 2.9]) (P < 0.001), and their weight did not change significantly (change in weight, 0.1 kg [CI, -0.7 to 0.8]; P = 0.87). Total cholesterol levels decreased (change in cholesterol, -0.29 mmol/L [-11.21 mg/dL]; P = 0.006), although not significantly after adjustment for body composition changes. Other outcomes, including bone density and other serum lipid levels, did not change. Persons treated with GH were significantly more likely to experience soft tissue edema, arthralgias, carpal tunnel syndrome, and gynecomastia and were somewhat more likely to experience the onset of diabetes mellitus and impaired fasting glucose. LIMITATIONS: Some important outcomes were infrequently or heterogeneously measured and could not be synthesized. Most included studies had small sample sizes. CONCLUSIONS: The literature published on randomized, controlled trials evaluating GH therapy in the healthy elderly is limited but suggests that it is associated with small changes in body composition and increased rates of adverse events. On the basis of this evidence, GH cannot be recommended as an antiaging therapy.

02.29 | Unregistered CommenterTF

Seems a lot of doctors are prescribing hgh these days.

03.2 | Unregistered CommenterHGH

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