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Growth Hormone May Benefit Bone Health in Older Women

But researcher says high cost, need to get shots in clinics make it an unlikely osteoporosis treatment

FRIDAY, Aug. 28, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Older women with osteoporosis may benefit from a few years on growth hormone, a new, small trial suggests. The results were reported online Aug. 27 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The findings are based on 80 women with osteoporosis who were randomly assigned to take daily injections of either growth hormone or a placebo for 18 months. After that, the hormone group continued on the treatment for another 18 months. All of the women took calcium and vitamin D.

The team also compared the study group with a random sample of 223 women the same age who did not initially have osteoporosis. Over 10 years, the rate of bone fracture in that group rose from 8 to 32 percent. In contrast, the study patients saw their fracture rate drop by half over time — from 56 to 28 percent.

“It’s unlikely,” lead researcher Emily Krantz, M.D., of Södra Älvsborgs Hospital in Borås, Sweden, acknowledged to HealthDay, “that it will be used [for osteoporosis] in the foreseeable future, because the treatment is so expensive and has to be overseen by a specialist clinic.” Krantz said her team has no plans for a larger trial, but will keep following the patients who’ve already received growth hormone.

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