By Lisa Wells, RN
The human growth hormone (HGH or GH) made naturally by the pituitary gland in the brain is called Somatotropin. The HGH contained in the injections is of recombinant (synthetic) origin and its generic name is Somatropin.
HGH For Injection is one of the most expensive drugs with a cost that usually ranges between $800 and $3,000 per month, with high quality U.S. brands such as Eli Lily and Genentech costing more than brands obtained from China and other countries.
Some brands come in vials that contain a powder which must be reconstituted with bacteriostatic water prior to use. The vial must then be refrigerated and remains stable for only a short time after reconstitution.
There are also convenient and easy to use HGH pens that are already mixed and some do not require refrigeration.
A prescription is always required.
Somatropin is approved for use in children with growth deficiency and in adults with muscle wasting and somatopause. In order for adults to qualify for injection therapy their IGF-1 levels must fall below the level that is considered normal for age. Some anti-aging physicians will prescribe the HGH injections to adults whose IGF-1 level may be within normal range for their age but is not optimum for good health.
The Risks of HGH Injections
Human growth hormone is not an anabolic steroid but has some similar effects on the body. The injections are popular among bodybuilders and athletes trying to build muscle, strength, and/or endurance. Some abuse HGH as they abused anabolic steroids.
HGH injections can cause side effects such as acromegaly, fluid retention, enlarged breasts in males, painful joints, carpal tunnel syndrome, and liver damage when taken improperly.
Since hormone replacement with some other synthetic hormones has caused an increased risk of cancer there continues to be concern about whether injections of growth hormone might increase the risks of cancer also.
Those who take injectable GH when they do not have a deficiency may experience these side effects and risks.
When under a doctor's care the growth hormone and/or IGF-1 blood levels are monitored, which decreases the risks of side effects or the stimulation of errant cell growth.
Also, the patient should understand that HGH injections may cause their pituitary gland to become lazy because it will no longer need to release its own growth hormone. Although the injections should be cycled and slowly weaned off to try to prevent a rebound effect, the benefits may not be sustainable once the therapy stops.
Dosages For HGH Injections
The amount of HGH used by Dr. Daniel Rudman in his 1990 clinical study, 16.5 IU (international units) divided into three doses per week, is now considered too much due to the side effects his patients experienced. The latest studies suggest that benefits may be obtained while lowering the risks by giving smaller, more frequent doses.
Lower doses such as 4 to 8 IU per week are prescribed and are divided into two doses per day for five or six days a week. Patients are taught to give themselves a subcutaneous injection upon arising in the morning and at bedtime. No injections are taken one or two days a week.
The proper dose should be prescribed individually depending on the age and condition of the patient. Qualified physicians begin with low doses such as 0.5 IU per day and slowly increase the patient's dosage in 0.5 IU monthly increments as needed based on their IGF-1 blood level.
It should be noted that usually the older the patient the more sensitive they are, so older patients may require a smaller dose than younger patients. Some authorities believe that dosages of over 2 IU per day will cause side effects.
Injection Not the Only Effective HGH Therapy
Despite what you may have heard, you don't have to take injections to receive the benefits of human growth hormone if your pituitary gland is not damaged.
Leading physicians recommend taking non-injectable supplements to increase HGH naturally and safely and the injections should only be used as a last resort. (See books written about human growth hormone). I take HGH Plus IGF-1 & IGF-2.