Growth hormone has benefits after obesity surgery
In morbidly obese patients who undergo weight loss or “bariatric” surgery, subsequent treatment with growth hormone (GH) for 6 months prevents the loss of lean body mass, researchers have found.
Dr. Silvia Savastano from University Federico II of Naples, Italy, and colleagues investigated the potential role of GH treatment in affecting body weight loss in 24 morbidly obese women who had a type of weight loss surgery called gastric banding, in which a large portion of the stomach is tied off, leaving only a small pouch.
The 12 patients treated with GH and those given placebo lost a similar amount of weight, the investigators found, but patients treated with GH had lower loss of lean body mass and higher loss of fat mass at 3 months.
Moreover, patients taking GH became more sensitive to the blood sugar-regulating effects of insulin and also saw improvement in their ratio of total cholesterol to “good” HDL cholesterol.
“This evidence opens a new frontier for GH therapy in the management of morbid obese patients,” Savastano and colleagues conclude.
However, they add, in consideration of the costs of GH replacement therapy, “a careful cost-benefit analysis is required.”
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, March 2009.
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