The long term effects of GH replacement in adult GH-deficient (GHD) patients have not yet been clarified. We studied 21 GHD adults who originally took part in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of GH treatment in 1987. After completion of that trial, 10 patients received continuous GH replacement for the subsequent 10 yr, whereas 11 did not. A group of 11 age- and sex-matched normal controls were also studied in 1987 and 1997. Lean body mass, as assessed by total body potassium measurement and computed tomography scanning of the dominant thigh, increased in the GH-treated group (P < 0.01 for both) only (P < 0.05 between groups for total body potassium). Low density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased in the GH-treated group (P < 0.05) only. Carotid intima media thickness was significantly greater (P < 0.05) in the untreated group than in the GH-treated group. Assessment of psychological well-being using the Nottingham Health Profile revealed improvement in overall score, energy levels, and emotional reaction in the GH-treated group compared with those in the untreated group (P < 0.02). In conclusion, GH treatment for 10 yr in GHD adults resulted in increased lean body and muscle mass, a less atherogenic lipid profile, reduced carotid intima media thickness, and improved psychological well-being.