Somatropin is a human growth hormone, also known in the pharmaceutical and medical community as hGH. The brand, Norditropin, which is marketed by Novo Nordisk, has a patent expiration of December 16, 2015. As an injectable treatment for children who have growth failure, either due to low or no growth hormone, somatropin is safe and effective. Other situations in which children may be prescribed the injectable somatropin include adolescents who have Noonan or Turner syndrome and are short in stature, and children who were born small for their gestational age and have not caught up. Adults who do not make enough of the growth hormone may be prescribed somatropin as well.
Biosynthetic human growth hormones, which are sometimes referred to as a recombinant growth hormone, also employ the use of somatropin, and may be abbreviated as rhGH. The United states began the use of somatropin as a biosynthetic human growth hormone in 1985, replacing the use of pituitary-derived HGH for therapeutic purposes. Common side effects of somatropin includes muscle pain, headaches, hyperglycemia, stiff joints, fluid retention, glucosuria, and redness or irritation at the injection site. Somatropin may also be used to treat patients with AIDS who experience severe weight loss, or to treat short bowel syndrome. Doses of somatropin are given subcutaneously, and vary for each patient based on patient response and tolerance. The dosage can be increased based on body weight, while taking care not to cause edema from an excess dose.
Past and current research has proven that hGH or somatropin injections are efficacious, according to researchers at Vanderbilt University. The injections for children usually last until an acceptable height is attained, a goal which is set by a physician. Oftentimes the injections work in a timely fashion, where the parents and child are able to see a considerable jump in growth within the first 3 or 4 months. Somatropin injections also improves the appetite of children, and reduce overall body fat. Jefferson University Hospital pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Judith L. Ross touts the benefits of hGH, like somatropin, as she sees great benefit for the children who really need the growth assistance. Studies have shown that hormonally genetic children destined to be short can benefit from somatropin. With the ability to gain between one and a half and four inches extra in height, this could turn a young boy who might only reach 5 feet 3 into a 5 foot 7 young man.
Dr. Judith L. Ross, a pediatric endocrinologist at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, stated that even hormonally normal children, genetically destined to be short, can gain one and a half to perhaps four inches in final height, depending on when treatment is begun. Her statements, which echo the studies completed at Vanderbilt University are reassuring for parents whose children may appear to need these treatments. The caveat for these treatments is the cost. With many insurance companies covering up to 80% for some of their patients, the brand name hGH products can be financially unattainable. Researchers are currently seeking generic products composed of somatropin, hoping to alleviate the financial burden for families and their children who would surely benefit from this therapy.
The current research and development is encouraging news for patients and their families, as the Human Growth Hormone Guide recently reported that prescription hGH injections cost anywhere from $800 to $2,200 a month without adequate medical coverage. Current studies being conducted are examining somatropin for treating a variety of other conditions which might offer patients benefits from treatment with this effectual and tolerable drug. These conditions include patients with Prader-Willi syndrome, which can result in extreme obesity without adequate growth, cystic fibrosis and juvenile arthritis.
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