Long-term effects of growth hormone therapy on patients with Prader-Willi syndrome

Acta Paediatr. 2010 Nov;99(11):1712-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01904.x. Epub 2010 Jul 5.


Aim: To assess the effects of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) treatment in children with Prader-Willi syndrome.

Design: A 1-year study and an observational follow-up visit 10 years later.

Methods: In 20 patients with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS): clinical assessment, laboratory tests, body composition analysis by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, sleep polygraphy, health-related quality of life assessed by 16D.

Results: Only two patients had normal growth hormone secretion at baseline. All patients were significantly shorter than their expected heights, but experienced catch-up growth during growth hormone treatment. At follow-up, 13 patients had reached adult heights and were markedly taller than historical controls. The cumulative dose of rhGH over 10 years correlated inversely with the total body fat percentage (p = 0.033). However, patients remained severely obese at 10 years. Sleep polygraphy was abnormal in more than half of the patients. Health-related quality of life of the patients remained substantially below that of normal population.

Conclusion: Growth hormone markedly improved adult height in subjects with PWS when compared to historical data. The cumulative dose of growth hormone correlated with reduction in body fat; nevertheless, patients remained severely obese.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Body Height / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Human Growth Hormone / adverse effects
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / chemically induced
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Recombinant Proteins / adverse effects
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / chemically induced
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Human Growth Hormone