Adverse effects of growth hormone replacement therapy in children

Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2011 Nov;55(8):559-65. doi: 10.1590/s0004-27302011000800009.


Human growth hormone (hGH) replacement therapy has been widely available for clinical purposes for more than fifty years. Starting in 1958, hGH was obtained from cadaveric pituitaries, but in 1985 the association between hGH therapy and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was reported. In the same year, the use of recombinant hGH (rhGH) was approved. Side effects of rhGH replacement therapy in children and adolescents include rash and pain at injection site, transient fever, prepubertal gynecomastia, arthralgia, edema, benign intracranial hypertension, insulin resistance, progression of scoliosis, and slipped capital femoral epiphysis. Since GH stimulates cell multiplication, development of neoplasms is a concern. We will review the side effects reported in all rhGH indications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Growth Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Human Growth Hormone / adverse effects*
  • Humans


  • Human Growth Hormone