The human growth hormone seems to be the future. Pharmaceutical company OPKO Health Inc. has just made a $275 million agreement with Pfizer (also a pharmaceutical company) to begin developing and commercializing a special version of the human growth hormone.
The drug, called hGH-CTP is a longer lasting human growth hormone treatment than the typical hGH that is available now. Human growth hormone shots are, at the present time, given once a day. The hGH-CTP is a treatment that can be given only once a week, making it more convenient for the patient.
There should be a high rate of patients following through with treatments if they are only once a week, as opposed to once a day. The human growth hormone is given as a treatment to adults who have a growth hormone deficiency (GHD), or children born small for gestational age (SGA) who have not caught up by the age of two.
This is a bold move, one that hints at the potential future use of human growth hormone to become more and more widespread. Off label use of the human growth hormone could also become more widespread.
The fact that the human growth hormone has not been approved by the FDA has not deterred physicians from prescribing it for anti-aging purposes. It is often lauded by marketers or doctors as the fountain of youth, melting away body fat, restoring hair growth, increasing your energy level as well as sex drive, quality of sleep, vision, and even memory.
Human growth hormone (and products claiming to increase your body’s production of it) has not received the proper testing required for anti-aging purposes. The long-term effects of using the human growth hormone for anti-aging purposes are unknown and the side effects that are known can be concerning.
Some of those side effects include nerve or muscle pain, edema, and high cholesterol levels. It has also been known to increase the risk of diabetes. One of the purported benefits of the human growth hormone is the more speedy regeneration of cells, however, this is not limited only to healthy cells. It can speed the growth of dangerous cancer cells as well.
“Prescribing and administering GH has become a routine intervention in an industry that is variably called anti-aging, regenerative, longevity or age management medicine. Hundreds of thousands of patients who have received GH in recent years as a purported treatment for aging are unaware that they are receiving the drug illegally,” said Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, from Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts in a news release.
While this new agreement is a positive development in the use of the human growth hormone, it remains to be seen if this partnership and development will spark growth in awareness and use of hGH. Surely it will help those who have conditions that require hGH injections adhere to their course of treatments. With further research, it is hoped that additional uses of the drug will be proven to be beneficial as well.