Their study involved 16 infants who were receiving dialysis or similar treatments for chronic kidney disease and who continued to fail to grow despite careful nutritional therapy.
After treating half the infants with growth hormone, researchers monitored all 16 children for one year. During that time, the infants receiving growth hormone grew an average of 5.7 inches, while the group without supplemental growth hormone grew only 3.7 inches.
Researchers also monitored the children for potentially dangerous side-effects that had previously limited the use of growth hormone in infants, including early bone maturation and the progression of kidney disease. The infants receiving growth hormone did not show any harmful effects from the treatment.
Some countries, including Spain and Portugal, do not allow use of growth hormone in children under age two. In other countries which do allow growth hormone to be prescribed for young children, including the United States, many doctors have been hesitant to use the hormone in very young children. The results of this study indicate that children who do not respond to nutritional therapy may have an unnecessary delay in growth if growth hormone is not given at an early age.
The research team in Spain and Portugal intends to continue to follow the growth of the children from the study to gain more long-term data. The study was a clinical trial sponsored by Novo Nordisk.