The use of growth hormone therapy in adults with Prader-Willi syndrome: A systematic review.
Despite clear benefits in the management of children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), the role of growth hormone (GH) in adults is unclear. The aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review to evaluate the effects of GH on body composition, bone health and cardiovascular health in adults with PWS.A systematic computerized literature search of the PubMed database was conducted by two independent reviewers. Inclusion criteria were individuals over the age of 16 years with a genetic diagnosis of PWS who had received GH therapy, together with assessment of body composition, bone health or cardiovascular health.Twenty full-text papers met the inclusion criteria, encompassing 364 unique patients. No differences in body mass index (BMI) were noted, although 2 studies reported increased BMI after GH cessation. Data demonstrated statistically significant increases in lean body mass and reductions in percentage fat mass. Studies reported inconsistent effects of GH on cholesterol and echocardiography parameters. No studies reported differences in bone mineral density, although one reported improved bone geometry. Minor adverse events including pretibial oedema, headache and transient impaired glucose tolerance were reported in 7 studies.These data suggest that GH is safe and well tolerated in adults with PWS, with evidence of improvement in body composition. Further longitudinal studies are still required to investigate the effects of GH on bone and cardiovascular health. Where GH is used in adults with PWS, this should be managed by a specialist multidisciplinary team with regular monitoring initiated.