Growth Hormone Use.
Short stature may signal a deficiency of growth hormone. But it may not. There are tests to determine if a child has low levels of growth hormone. If so, these children's growth rate increases with supplement growth hormone.
Using growth hormone in short statured children with normal growth hormone levels is controversial. Growth hormone does initially increase the rate of growth in children with normal growth hormone levels. That's good. But the hormone also accelerates the rate of bone maturation. The faster the bones mature, the sooner the growth stops.
A study of 27 boys with non-growth-hormone-deficient short statue found that using growth hormone didn't improve final height and actually resulted in a shorter final height than if the hormone wasn't used. The children were divided into two groups. Half didn't receive any drugs that might growth or bone maturation; the other group received growth hormone. The shorter final height may be due to two effects of growth hormone: accelerated bone growth and reduction of duration of puberty.
Growth hormone works well for children with a deficiency, but may actually may have a negative effect for short statured children with normal growth hormone levels.
American Family Physician 9/15/97, p. 1172.