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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 Prader-Willi syndrome?

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic disorder that affects both boys and girls. About 1 in 10,000 to 30,000 people worldwide are affected by PWS, which can cause childhood obesity as well as difficulties with learning, hormonal and neurological function, and behavior.

What causes Prader-Willi syndrome?

PWS results when certain genes located on an area of chromosome 15 are abnormal or missing. In most cases, children do not inherit PWS from their parents—the error in the genes just happens.

The signs of PWS vary throughout life. Babies with PWS have poor muscle tone and difficulty feeding. As they grow, they often experience an abnormally increased appetite, along with short stature. In later childhood, obesity-related complications may arise, along with scoliosis, epilepsy, and additional behavioral problems.

Children with PWS may have some or all of these characteristics:

In infancy

Poor muscle tone


Difficulty Feeding

Slow growth

Poor reflexes

In early childhood

Facial features such as narrow forehead and almond-shaped eyes

Puffy hands and fingers

Delays in motor and language skills

Learning disabilities

Increased appetite


Short stature due to reduced growth hormone secretion

Behavior problems

In late childhood and adolescence

Abnormally increased appetite

Lack of satiety after eating

Food-seeking behavior

Obesity-related complications such as diabetes and sleep apnea

Surprising fact: Many genetic disorders are inherited—passed down from parents to their children. But PWS is different. It occurs when genes from a baby's father do not function properly. These errors in the genes happen randomly, so while PWS is rare, it can occur in any pregnancy.

What about puberty?

Both boys and girls with PWS experience a delay in puberty and lack the pubertal growth spurt typically seen during this phase of development.

How is Prader-Willi syndrome diagnosed?

Before genetic testing was developed, children were diagnosed based on exhibiting the characteristics of PWS such as lethargy and feeding problems in infancy or increased appetite and distinctive facial features in early childhood. Today, if PWS is suspected, the doctor may refer your child to a geneticist for genetic testing to confirm a diagnosis.

In addition, a pediatric endocrinologist may order a stimulation test, or “stim” test, to determine whether your child has growth hormone deficiency (GHD). During this test, a patient is given a medication that causes the pituitary gland to release larger amounts of growth hormone. Over a period of time, several blood samples are taken to measure the amount of growth hormone in the body.

Poor muscle tone and lethargy
Difficulty feeding

Narrow forehead and almond-shaped eyes
Puffy hands and fingers

Abnormally increased appetite
Lack of satiety after eating
Behavior problems related to food

Poor muscle tone and lethargy
Difficulty feeding

Narrow forehead and almond-shaped eyes
Puffy hands and fingers

Abnormally increased appetite
Lack of satiety after eating
Behavior problems related to food

After the diagnosis.

After diagnosing your child with PWS, the doctor may recommend a treatment such as growth hormone and will likely ask for regular follow-up visits to monitor your child’s growth and make sure that 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.