Long-Acting Growth Hormone: An Update
After the introduction of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) in 1985, a myriad of children and adults have benefited from its growth-promoting and metabolic effects. Nowadays, current therapeutic regimens rely on daily subcutaneous GH injections that could be burdensome and inconvenient to pediatric patients. As expected with any long-term parenteral pharmacological treatment, these daily regimens may promote nonadherence, poor compliance, treatment abandonment and/or suboptimal clinical outcomes. In order to improve patient and caregiver acceptance of proposed regimens, simplified dosing schedules could potentially aid in reducing poor compliance and maximize the therapeutic end results. Long-acting GH formulations have been designed and perfected over the last two decades, and currently there are several formulations in advanced stages of research as a reasonable attempt to improve patient's adherence to GH treatment. A long-acting GH preparation allowing for reduced injection frequency is likely to improve treatment adherence and to decrease the distress and inconvenience associated with daily injections. This review presents an update about the status of current and recent efforts that have enabled the formulation of sustained-release, long-acting rhGH as it has been longed for many years in the pediatric endocrinology field.