Early diagnosis and focused patient care can improve the outcomes of children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). According to the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, the symptoms of PWS are likely due to dysfunction in the pituitary gland.
Growth hormone therapy is one proven intervention for people with PWS. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this treatment for children with PWS in June 2000. Since then, trials, testing, and research have expanded, showing promising results in children with PWS.
Let’s take a closer look at how human growth hormone (HGH) is used to treat Prader-Willis syndrome:
What is Human Growth Hormone (HGH)?
HGH is produced naturally by a part of the brain called the pituitary gland. The hormone is released at intervals throughout the day and boosts growth in children. Several body functions, such as fluid balance, body composition, metabolism, and heart function, are regulated by HGH.
When the pituitary gland doesn’t secrete enough HGH, symptoms of the deficiency begin to show in the child. This often includes stunted growth, decreased muscle mass, increased fat mass, low stamina, and mood swings.
How and When is HGH Administered?
Growth human therapy can be started at any age—studies show that starting hormone therapy at infancy provides the most advantage. Research shows that infants with PWS that started treatment before 15 months of age began to walk earlier.
The dosage will differ depending on multiple factors, including age, hormone levels, patient health, and weight. HGH injections are usually injected once every night; long-acting formulations of growth hormone are still in development.
What are the Benefits of HGH for Children?
Hormone therapy has shown several benefits for children with PWS. Numerous studies have compared the performance of children before and after the use of HGH injections. Most prominent benefits include:
- Enhanced body composition
- Better mobility
- Cognitive improvement
- Better mental and motor development
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Improved respiratory functions
Discuss your options with a licensed endocrinologist before starting any treatment. It’s only after you get a complete diagnosis and evaluation that your child can be prescribed HGH injectables and treatments.
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