The effects of treatment and the individual responsiveness to growth hormone (GH) replacement therapy in 665 GH-deficient adults. KIMS Study Group and the KIMS International Board

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Nov;84(11):3929-35. doi: 10.1210/jcem.84.11.6088.


Data from 665 adults with GH deficiency (GHD; 332 women; 169 childhood-onset GHD; mean age, 44 yr) were analyzed to determine the efficacy of and individual responsiveness to GH replacement therapy. GH replacement was started at enrolment into KIMS (Pharmacia & Upjohn, Inc. International Metabolic Database). Mean maintenance doses of GH after 6 and 12 months were 0.43 and 0.53 mg/day (1.3 and 1.6 IU/day) for men and women, respectively. Serum insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) SD score increased from -2.2 and -4.2 in men and women, respectively, to 1.8 and -0.9 at 6 months and 0.8 and -0.7 at 12 months. The waist/hip ratio decreased after 6 and 12 months, with the changes more pronounced in men. The waist/hip ratio was not influenced by age of onset of GHD, severity of hypopituitarism, or gonadal status. Total cholesterol decreased significantly in men, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol increased in women. Systolic blood pressure was unchanged during GH therapy, but diastolic blood pressure decreased in women. Quality of life, determined by a specific questionnaire for assessment of GHD in adults, improved after 6 and 12 months of GH therapy; this was more pronounced in adult-onset than in childhood-onset GHD, but was not influenced by gender, severity of hypopituitarism, or gonadal status. In 80% of patients, the starting dose of GH was 0.27 mg/day or less. This and the absence of a correlation between body weight and change in IGF-I were consistent with a dose-titration approach, which would tend to obscure individual variations in responses (determined by IGF-I levels). Nonetheless, the increase in IGF-I was significantly higher in men than in women on similar mean GH doses. Weak correlations were observed between the maintenance dose of GH and the change in IGF-I in men and women receiving sex steroid replacement, but not in patients with untreated hypogonadism or an intact gonadotropin reserve. Similarly, the increment in IGF-I was not related to the severity of GHD, as determined by the number of additional pituitary hormone deficiencies. Differences in IGF-I generation may partly explain the gender differences in reduction of central adiposity. These data highlight the value of large longitudinal surveillance databases in defining the optimum dose regimen for GH replacement and indicate that women may need a higher replacement dose of GH than men.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Body Constitution
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone / administration & dosage
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency*
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Cholesterol