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February 22, 2006

Growth Hormone for “Antiaging”

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(8):888-890. doi:10.1001/jama.295.8.889-b

To the Editor: In their Commentary, Dr Perls and colleagues1 present an important discussion of the misuse of HGH in the antiaging industry and emphasize its legal ramifications. The authors, however, neglected to mention an important legal use of HGH in adults. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved HGH as an orphan drug for patients with intestinal failure2 after a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial showed benefits of HGH therapy for reduction of parenteral nutrition.3 Some patients, parenteral nutrition-dependent for many years, were even able to completely wean off parenteral nutrition. While there are a relatively small number of patients with intestinal failure or short gut, they tend to be very ill. Human growth hormone is the only growth factor or biological treatment approved with a positive long-term effect on intestinal rehabilitation.

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