June 29, 2009

Children can inhale growth hormone

A clinical trial led by a U.S. hospital found growth hormone can be delivered via inhalation to children, researchers said.

The five-center study of 22 patients led by Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis found that in a one-week period the inhaler safely and effectively delivered growth hormone to the bloodstream of children being treated for a deficiency in this small peptide hormone usually administered by daily injections.

Dr. Emily Walvoord of the Indiana University School of Medicine, the study's coordinating investigator, said the children -- as young as age 6 and as old as age 16 -- reported they preferred the inhaler.

The researchers also found that when a drug is delivered via the lungs, children have very different physiologies and drug absorption rates than adults.

We saw that children in the study needed higher doses of growth hormone to attain the same blood level as the adults, Walvoord said in a statement.

This finding is an important one because it highlights that children are not miniature adults and need specially tailored therapies, particularly when considering the development of new drugs to be given by inhalation into the lungs.

The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.