The use of growth hormone in children and adults is well established and clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of growth hormone therapy.
Short-term safety is considered good. The incidence of side effects is lower than expected in patients with acromegaly. The long-term safety of growth hormone has been well documented by post-marketing surveillance records. However, in 2007, preliminary data from the French cohort SAGhe (Safety and Appropriateness of Growth Hormone Treatments in Europe) launched the charco, suggesting a relationship between childhood growth hormone treatment and premature death or stroke. However, preliminary data from other countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden) did not confirm these initial results.
In any case, it is important to consider long-term safety data, which led a Danish team to analyze published safety data, focusing on mortality, cancer, cardiovascular events and the onset of diabetes, using databases provided by pharmaceutical industry registries on GH treatment monitoring.
Based on this general analysis, the published data did not show an increased risk of mortality in children or adults treated with GH. There are no arguments for an increased risk of stroke, for the risk of new cancer, leukemia, non-leukemic extracranial tumors or recurrence of intracranial tumors in patients without risk factors. Only the risk of a second cancer increases, especially if patients have been treated with radiation therapy for a central nervous system tumor. There may be an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in patients treated with GH, but this appears to be confined primarily to those with pre-existing risk factors.
In conclusion, according to this study, patients with risk factors for cancer or type 2diabetes, if treated, should be carefully monitored. Otherwise, the published data are quite reassuring about the long-term safety profile of HGH treatment in patients requiring it.