Progressive deficits in the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor I axis may contribute to the acquired biochemical, body composition, and functional changes of normal human aging, but they do not offer a sole, or even a major explanation for these changes. The concept that GH “replacement” would materially benefit the daily function of older men and women finds little support in the results of the controlled clinical trials that have been reported. GH, either as monotherapy or in combination with antiresorptive medication, does not offer a clinically useful improvement in bone mass, and it is difficult to find a rationale for its use in the treatment of osteoporosis. GH may yet prove to be a useful agent for older men and women in the management of other clinical syndromes, such as visceral obesity, but conclusions in this area await compelling evidence. For the time being, potential benefits of GH in older men and women must be viewed with skepticism, and use of this agent outside the context of a clinical trial is not justified.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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