Growth Hormone Secretagogue Treatment in Hypogonadal Men Raises Serum Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Levels

Am J Mens Health. 2017 Nov;11(6):1752-1757. doi: 10.1177/1557988317718662. Epub 2017 Aug 22.


Realizing the reported misuse of human growth hormone (GH), investigation of a safe alternative mechanism for increasing endogenous GH is needed. Several GH secretagogues are available, including GH-releasing peptides (GHRPs) GHRP-2 and GHRP-6, and the GH-releasing hormone analog, sermorelin (SERM). Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) serves as a surrogate marker for GH. Here, the effect of GHRP/SERM therapy on IGF-1 levels is evaluated. A retrospective review of medical records was performed for 105 men on testosterone (T) therapy seeking increases in lean body mass and fat loss who were prescribed 100 mcg of GHRP-6, GHRP-2, and SERM three times daily. Compliance with therapy was assessed, and 14 men met strict inclusion criteria. Serum hormone levels of IGF-1, T, free T (FT), estradiol (E), luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were evaluated. Mean (SD) age of the cohort was 33.2 (2.9) years, and baseline IGF-1 level was 159.5 (26.7) ng/mL. Mean (SD) duration of continuous GHRP/SERM treatment was 134 (88) days. Mean posttreatment IGF-1 level was 239.0 (54.6) ng/mL ( p < .0001). Three of the 14 men were on an aromatase inhibitor and/or tamoxifen prior to treatment and another 4 men were coadministered an aromatase inhibitor and/or tamoxifen during treatment. Inhibition of E production or estrogen receptor blockade resulted in smaller increases in IGF-1 levels. GHRP/SERM therapy increases serum IGF-1 levels with strict compliance to thrice-daily dosing. The results suggest that combination therapy may be beneficial in men with wasting conditions that can improve with increased GH secretion.

Keywords: IGF-1 levels; growth hormone; growth hormone secretagogue; growth hormone–releasing peptides; hypogonadism.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency*
  • Human Growth Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Retrospective Studies


  • IGF1 protein, human
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I