Growth hormone deficiency is treated by administering growth hormone. Growth hormone cannot be taken by mouth because it breaks down in the stomach and intestines. It is therefore administered by injection in the subcutaneous fatty tissue once a day, usually in the evening.
The results of growth hormone treatment are very good if the treatment is started at the right time and if the injections are administered faithfully on a daily basis. The growth rate increases within 3 months of the beginning of treatment, and during the first year of treatment, children often grow 10 cm or more. Results from all over the world show that adult height after growth hormone treatment is close to target height, which is the height that would be predicted for a child based on his/her parents’ height. The results of children who were irradiated on the spine are not quite as good, because the vertebrae cannot respond properly to the growth hormone treatment due to the irradiation.