Effects of growth hormone in osteoporosis

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1976 Nov;43(5):992-9. doi: 10.1210/jcem-43-5-992.


The effect of chronic administration of growth hormone (GH) to osteoporotic patients was studied using the techniques of total body neutron activation analysis, whole body counting, calcium tracer kinetics, photon absorptiometry, quantitative microradiography, and urinary hydroxyproline. Two dosage schedules were utilized for six months each: 2 units daily and 0.2 w3/4 units of GH daily (where W represents body weight expressed in kg). The lower dosage (2 units) did not produce any appreciable change in the indices studied. Following the higher dose, no evidence of any anabolic effect was apparent in most patients (i.e., no increase in total body levels of Ca, Na, K, P, or Cl). Increases were noted in the urinary calcium excretion rate and in the urinary hydroxyproline excretion. Bone mineral content decreased. The bone biopsies displayed an increase in bone formation and resorption surfaces in response to treatment, but these changes were not statistically significant. It may be concluded that under the conditions of this study, GH administration did not result in an increment in skeletal mass. Several side effects that are characteristic of acromegaly were observed, including hyperglycemia, hypertension, arthralgia, and the carpal tunnel syndrome. Because of the lack of demonstrated benefit and the associated complications of therapy, GH administration does not appear to be of value in the treatment of osteoporosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyproline / urine
  • Male
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy*
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Potassium / metabolism


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Growth Hormone
  • Hydroxyproline
  • Potassium
  • Calcium