Obstacles to the prescribing of growth hormone in children with chronic kidney disease


Despite its effectiveness, recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) is under-utilized in short children with chronic kidney disease (CKD). We conducted a multicenter study to explore the obstacles preventing children with CKD from receiving rhGH. We investigated the use of rhGH in 307 children with CKD from seven pediatric nephrology centers. Among the 110 patients who fell below the 5th percentile, 56 (51%) had not received rhGH. The most common reasons given for these children not receiving rhGH were family refusal, secondary hyperparathyroidism, and non-compliance. However, no explanation was apparent for 25% of the short children with CKD. Boys were more likely than girls to receive rhGH (65% vs 31%; P = 0.002). Use of rhGH was similar in African Americans and non-Hispanic Whites. Children who had received rhGH achieved a 0.5 increase in height z-score in the first year after the initiation of rhGH therapy. Children who had not received rhGH achieved a 0.03 increase in height z-score during the first year after falling below the 5th percentile (P = 0.005 vs the children who had received rhGH). Waiting for insurance company approval led to a significant delay in the initiation of rhGH treatment in 18% of patients. The fact that more than 50% of short children with CKD did not receive rhGH is secondary to multiple factors, many of which may be amenable to intervention efforts.

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Correspondence to Larry A. Greenbaum.

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Greenbaum, L.A., Hidalgo, G., Chand, D. et al. Obstacles to the prescribing of growth hormone in children with chronic kidney disease. Pediatr Nephrol 23, 1531–1535 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00467-008-0857-3

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  • Growth hormone
  • Kidney diseases
  • Short stature
  • Secondary hyperparathyroidism
  • Children