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Types of Growth Disorders

Some children experience slow growth due to factors such as diet, emotional stress, or disease. For a small number of children and adults, their short stature is caused by a medical condition that either slows or stops growth. Norditropin® is used to treat some of these conditions.

What is Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency?

Adults diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency (GHD) do not produce sufficient growth hormone. Growth hormone is made in the brain by the pituitary gland.

It’s responsible for more than just your height; growth hormone also helps keep your bones, muscles, and metabolism in balance. In children, growth hormone deficiency can result in a lack of growth. But for adults, a lack of growth hormone can affect their bodies in other ways.

What causes it?

About 50,000 adults in the United States have growth hormone deficiency, with about 6,000 new patients diagnosed each year.

Typically, there are two main causes:

Adults may become growth hormone deficient when the pituitary gland or hypothalamus is damaged. This may happen as the result of disease, a head injury, a blocked blood supply, or after surgery or radiation treatment to treat tumors of the glands.

Adults may be diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency as children. Some require treatment throughout life. And while most adults with GHD are diagnosed as children, some don’t find out they have growth hormone deficiency until they reach adulthood.

In up to 80% of adults diagnosed with GHD, growth hormone deficiency is a result of damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, most often caused by benign (non-cancerous) tumors called pituitary adenomas, or from certain treatments of these tumors. Rare causes of adult GHD include diseases such as sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, histiocytosis, and hemochromatosis (iron overload).

What are the signs of Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency?

Most children with growth hormone deficiency have obvious symptoms, such as short stature. But because adults have already reached their full height, the symptoms of adult growth hormone deficiency are different. Growth hormone deficiency can affect the proportion of fat, muscle, and bone in your body, so you may notice the following signs and symptoms:

Increased fat, especially around the waist

Decreased muscle mass

Thinning bones

Higher cholesterol, especially LDL (the "bad" cholesterol)

How is Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects the possibility of adult GHD, he or she may refer you to an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in hormone disorders.

In order for the endocrinologist to confirm you have adult GHD, they may order a stimulation test, or "stim" test. During this test, a patient is given a medication that causes the pituitary gland to release larger amounts of growth hormone at once. Several blood samples are taken over a period of time, measuring the amount of growth hormone in the body. Your endocrinologist may need to do more than one stim test to accurately diagnose growth hormone deficiency.

After the diagnosis.

Your endocrinologist may recommend treatment to augment the amount of growth hormone produced by your pituitary gland, and will likely ask for regular follow-up visits to make sure the treatment is working well.

Find support.

Parents and caregivers of children with growth disorders can find support, community, and education through growth-related patient organizations, such as the MAGIC Foundation.

Norditropin® stories.

Learn more about what life is like for families whose children are 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, or call 1-800- FDA-1088.

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