Human growth hormone: a new substance of abuse among adolescents?

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1992 Dec;31(12):723-6. doi: 10.1177/000992289203101206.


It has been estimated that as many as 250,000 adolescents are using anabolic steroids (AS). Recently, anecdotal reports suggest that athletes may also be using human growth hormone (HGH). The purpose of the present study was to determine the following: 1) if adolescents in two suburban midwestern high schools (83% white, 14% Asian, and 3% black) were using HGH; 2) knowledge of its effects; 3) reasons for use; and 4) concurrent AS use. After we obtained informed written consent, 224 male and 208 female 10th-grade students were surveyed using a 15-item questionnaire. Of male students surveyed, 5% (n = 11) reported past or present use of HGH, and one female student reported use. Our data suggest that among male adolescents surveyed, a majority had heard of this substance, and 31% of males reported knowing someone who was using HGH. Chi-square analysis found a significant association between AS and HGH use where seven AS users reported past or present use of HGH. Most HGH users were unaware of its side effects and reported first use between 14 and 15 years of age. No differences in sports activity, ethnicity, or age were found between users and nonusers of HGH.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anabolic Agents
  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Doping in Sports / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Schools
  • Suburban Population


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Growth Hormone