Children born small for gestational age (SGA) who do not show catch-up in the first 2 years generally remain short for life. Although the majority of children born SGA are not growth hormone (GH) deficient, GH treatment is known to improve average growth in these children. Early studies using GH in children born SGA demonstrated increased height velocity, but these effects tended to be short-term with effects decreasing when GH treatment stopped. With refined GH regimens, significant effects on height have been shown, with gains of approximately 1 standard deviation score after 2 years. Studies have also shown that long-term continuous GH therapy can significantly increase final height to within the normal range. GH treatment of children born SGA does not appear to unduly affect bone age or pubertal development. Growth prediction models have been used to identify various factors involved in the response to GH therapy with ageat start, treatment duration, and GH dose showing strong effects. Genetic factors such as the exon 3 deletion of the GH receptor may contribute to short stature of children born SGA and may also be involved in the responsiveness to GH treatment, but there remain other unknown genetic and/or environmental factors. No unexpected safety concerns have arisen in GH therapy trials. In particular, no long-term adverse effects have been seen for glucose metabolism, and positive effects have been shown for lipid profiles and blood pressure. GH treatment in short children born SGA has shown a beneficial, growthpromoting effect in both the short-and long-term, and has become a recognized indication in both the US and Europe. Further studies on individualized treatment regimens and long-term safety are ongoing.

children born SGA, growth hormone, short stature,
Advances in Therapy: the international journal of drug, device and diagnostic research
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Jung, H, Rosilio, M, Blum, W.F, & Drop, S.L.S. (2008). Growth hormone treatment for short stature in children born small for gestational age. Advances in Therapy: the international journal of drug, device and diagnostic research (Vol. 25, pp. 951–978). doi:10.1007/s12325-008-0101-3