A new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports that growth hormone reduces the risk of fracture from osteoporosis and helps to maintain bone density in postmenopausal women with the condition, even long after administration of the treatment is stopped. The authors claim this to be the largest and longest controlled investigation of the therapy to date, consisting of an 18-month-long randomized, double-blind trial in which 80 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis received daily injections of either placebo, a single unit of growth hormone, or a 2.5-unit dose of growth hormone. After 36 months, the hormone injections were stopped and the women’s condition was then followed for the ensuing 7 years.
Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because bone loss takes place without advance symptoms. It is a progressive condition that causes the bones to become weak and more likely to break. More than 10 million American adults have osteoporosis, and 80% of the people being treated for the condition nationwide are women. Severe osteoporosis can result in bone fractures as well as a spinal compression fracture deformity called kyphosis, both of which can result in protracted pain. At the conclusion of the 10-year study, the women who received the larger growth hormone dose still had higher bone mineral density levels than the participants who received the lower dose or the placebo. The rate of fractures in the treated women who had osteoporosis declined by 50%.
Read about gender differences in spinal risk factors from birth, here.
Read about another study of osteoporosis treatment, here.
Read a news story about the study, with link to the online journal article here.