Skip to main content

Taking steps toward answers.

Many parents wonder when they should talk to their child’s doctor about his or her growth. To help you determine when and what to ask, we’ve put together a few suggestions, but always talk to your health care provider if you have concerns.

Taking steps toward answers.

Many parents wonder when they should talk to their child’s doctor about his or her growth. To help you determine when and what to ask, we’ve put together a few suggestions, but always talk to your health care provider if you have concerns.

When to ask about growth.

Your child’s growth should be regularly measured and plotted on a chart—for example, during routine physical examinations. If you or the doctor notice a lack of growth, your child should be measured more often to confirm whether there is an issue.

In general, you should ask your child’s doctor to specifically look at growth if your child:


Is much shorter than his or her peers or classmates


Is growing more slowly than their peers or classmates


Is not outgrowing their clothes or shoes


What does accurate measurement look like?

To accurately track your child’s growth, the doctor may take some of these measurements:


Length or height – for children 2 years of age and younger, length should be measured with an infantometer; for children 2 and over, height should be measured with a stadiometer


Weight


Head circumference – the length around your child’s head


Arm span – the length from the tip of one hand to the other with outstretched arms


The ratio between upper and lower body measurements


It’s important that measurements are done properly. For example:


Some common practices, such as marking the examination paper, can be extremely inaccurate


Children should stand straight, with hips and shoulders touching the flat surface behind them


It’s important to remove the child’s shoes, jacket, and hair ornaments, and adjust hairstyles that impede measurement


About growth charts.

Your child’s measurements will be plotted on a growth chart. Growth charts are used to document and create an ongoing picture of your child’s growth. Here’s what you should know:


Growth charts are age–based and gender–specific


Lines, called percentile curves or percentiles, show the percentage of children at the same height or weight for the age group


Your child’s doctor will plot his or her height measurements on the chart and draw a line (called a "growth curve") to connect the points


The current percentile rank will be compared to previous measurements to identify any shifts in your child’s growth patterns


This is an example of a growth chart and should not be used to plot measurements.

This is an example of a growth chart and should not be used to plot measurements.

What does 50th percentile mean?

Questions to ask.

Regular measuring and plotting is key to identifying if your child has a growth issue, but if you have any concerns, it’s important to let your child’s doctor know. Here are a few questions to get the ball rolling:


Can you explain the measurements you’ve taken?


My child’s percentile has fallen since the last measurement. Does that suggest an issue with my child’s growth?


What are some possible causes for lack of growth?


Should my child see a specialist?


What is growth velocity? Growth velocity is a term that your doctor may use when discussing your child’s growth progress, or rate of growth over time. For example, a rate of 2 inches per year is slower than 3 inches per year. Calculating growth velocity is important because it creates a picture of your child’s growth pattern, whether or not changes in actual height are occurring. Growth velocity can indicate whether your child is growing at a constant rate—if not, it could be a sign of a medical condition.

Should I just wait to see a specialist? A “wait and see” approach could delay potential identification of the cause of short stature—and referral to a specialist may lead to proper diagnosis and treatment.

Referral to a specialist.

If there is a problem with your child’s growth, the doctor may run some tests to determine the cause. If it turns out to be a medical issue, ask about a referral to a specialist, such as a pediatric endocrinologist.

Endocrinologists are specially trained doctors who diagnose and treat diseases of the glands and hormone imbalances. Pediatric endocrinologists are also trained to diagnose and treat children with growth disorders.

Keep in mind, early recognition of abnormal growth patterns, along with referral to a specialist, may offer the greatest opportunity for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Should I just wait to see a specialist? A “wait and see” approach could delay potential identification of the cause of short stature—and referral to a specialist may lead to proper diagnosis and treatment.

Norditropin® Stories.

Learn more about Shauna and her daughter Aria, who is being treated with Norditropin®.

Selected Important Safety Information

Do not use Norditropin® if: you have a critical illness caused by certain types of heart or stomach surgery, trauma or breathing (respiratory) problems; you are a child with Prader-Willi syndrome who is severely obese or has breathing problems including sleep apnea; you have cancer or other tumors; you are allergic to somatropin or any of the ingredients in Norditropin®; your healthcare provider tells you that you have certain types of eye problems caused by diabetes (diabetic retinopathy); you are a child with closed bone growth plates (epiphyses).

Indications and Usage

What is Norditropin® (somatropin) injection?
 
Norditropin® is a prescription medicine that contains human growth hormone and is used to treat:
  • children who are not growing because of low or no growth hormone 
  • children who are short (in stature) and who have Noonan syndrome, Turner syndrome, or were born small (small for gestational age-SGA) and have not caught-up in growth by age 2 to 4 years 
  • children who have Idiopathic Short Stature (ISS) 
  • children who are not growing who have Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) 
  • adults who do not make enough growth hormone

Important Safety Information (cont’d)

Before taking Norditropin®, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have had heart or stomach surgery, trauma or serious breathing (respiratory problems) 
  • have had a history of problems breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea) 
  • have or have had cancer or any tumor 
  • have diabetes 
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant or breastfeed

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Norditropin® may affect how other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how Norditropin® works.

How should I use Norditropin®?

  • Use Norditropin® exactly as your health care provider tells you to 
  • Do not share your Norditropin® pens and needles with another person even if the needle has been changed. You may give another person an infection or get an infection from them.

What are the possible side effects of Norditropin®?
Norditropin® may cause serious side effects, including:

  • high risk of death in people who have critical illnesses because of heart or stomach surgery, trauma or serious breathing (respiratory) problems 
  • high risk of sudden death in children with Prader-Willi syndrome who are severely obese or have breathing problems including sleep apnea 
  • increased risk of growth of cancer or a tumor that is already present and increased risk of the return of cancer or a tumor in people who were treated with radiation to the brain or head as children and who developed low growth hormone problems. Contact the healthcare provider if you or your child start to have headaches, or have changes in behavior, changes in vision, or changes in moles, birthmarks, or the color of your skin 
  • new or worsening high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or diabetes 
  • increase in pressure in the skull (intracranial hypertension). If you or your child has headaches, eye problems, nausea or vomiting, contact the healthcare provider 
  • serious allergic reactions. Get medical help right away if you or your child has the following symptoms: swelling of your face, lips, mouth or tongue, trouble breathing, wheezing, severe itching, skin rashes, redness or swelling, dizziness or fainting, fast heartbeat or pounding in your chest, or sweating 
  • your body holding too much fluid (fluid retention) such as swelling in the hands and feet, pain in your joints or muscles or nerve problems that cause pain, burning, or tingling in the hands, arms, legs and feet. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of these signs or symptoms of fluid retention. 
  • decrease in a hormone called cortisol. Tell your or your child’s healthcare provider if you or your child has darkening of the skin, severe fatigue, dizziness, weakness or weight loss 
  • decrease in thyroid hormone levels 
  • hip and knee pain or a limp in children (slipped capital femoral epiphysis) 
  • worsening of pre-existing curvature of the spine (scoliosis) 
  • severe and constant abdominal pain can be a sign of pancreatitis. Tell your or your child’s healthcare provider if you or your child has any new abdominal pain. 
  • loss of fat and tissue weakness in the area of skin you inject 
  • increase in phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, and parathyroid hormone levels in your blood

The most common side effects of Norditropin® include:

  • injection site reactions and rashes, and headaches

Please click here for Norditropin® Prescribing Information.

Norditropin® is a prescription medication.

Novo Nordisk provides patient assistance for those who qualify. Please call 1-866-310-7549 to learn more about Novo Nordisk assistance programs.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800- FDA-1088.

Talk to your health care provider and find out if Norditropin® is right for you or your child.