Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency

Adequate levels of growth hormone in the body are needed to help bodies function properly, even after you’re done growing. It plays an important role in stimulating the liver and other tissues to secrete IGF-1, a protein which is needed to support muscle growth and metabolic functions.1

Symptoms of a possible growth hormone deficiency in adults include:2

  • A higher level of body fat
  • Less muscle (lean body mass)
  • Reduced bone density

What is Saizen® (somatropin) for injection?

Saizen® (somatropin) for injection is a human growth hormone produced by recombinant DNA technology and is used when the body doesn’t produce growth hormone on its own. It is a type of treatment called growth hormone replacement therapy and is available by prescription only. The structure of the growth hormone used in treatment is identical to the growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland.

What does Saizen® do?

Saizen® is used for growth hormone therapy to replace the hormone that the body fails to produce on its own. It works to stimulate skeletal growth, increase the number and size of skeletal muscle cells, influence the size and function of internal organs and has important effects on metabolism.

Saizen® is approved to treat both children and adults.

In 2004, the FDA approved Saizen® for the replacement of endogenous growth hormone in adults with growth hormone deficiency who meet either of the following two criteria:

  1. Adult Onset: Patients who have growth hormone deficiency, either alone or associated with multiple hormone deficiencies (hypopituitarism), as a result of pituitary disease, hypothalamic disease, surgery, radiation therapy, or trauma; or
  2. Childhood Onset: Patients who were growth hormone deficient during childhood as a result of congenital, genetic, acquired, or idiopathic causes.

Learn about treatment and support options available to you.


What is SAIZEN® (somatropin) for injection?

Saizen is a prescription medicine that is used to treat growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in:

1- Children with growth failure who produce low amounts of growth hormone.
2- Adults with GHD that started as a child or as an adult.

Saizen is an injectable form of a protein called growth hormone that is produced by your body.

Important Risk Information

Who should not take SAIZEN?

Saizen should not be used in children after the growth plates have closed.

Saizen should not be used in children and adults with any of the following medical conditions because serious side effects can occur:

  • A critical illness from surgery, serious injuries, or a severe breathing problem
  • Prader-Willi syndrome who are severely overweight or have a history of breathing
    problems including sleep apnea
  • Cancer or other tumors
  • Allergies to growth hormone
  • Eye problems caused by diabetes

What should patients tell their doctor before taking SAIZEN?

  • If you have or had cancer as a child. There is an increased risk of getting another tumor if you are a childhood cancer survivor
  • If you have diabetes, are at risk for getting diabetes, or have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal. New cases of type 2 diabetes have been reported in patients taking Saizen
  • If you are allergic to growth hormone, or other ingredients such as benzyl alcohol, sucrose, phosphoric acid, sodium hydroxide, or metacresol
  • If you are taking any other medicines (both prescription or over the counter), vitamins, or supplements because these medicines may affect each other. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose of Saizen or other medicines you are taking
  • If you are nursing, pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Saizen passes into your breast milk or could harm your unborn baby

Your doctor will perform certain tests before prescribing SAIZEN and will monitor progress during the course of treatment.

What are the most common side effects of SAIZEN reported in clinical trials in patients treated for GHD?

The most common side effects reported are:

  • An injection site reaction such as pain, numbness, redness, and swelling
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Unusual skin sensations
  • Headache
  • Adults also commonly report swelling associated with fluid retention especially in the legs, arms, and face

Other less common but serious side effects of SAIZEN are:

  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia/diabetes) which can include symptoms of increased thirst and urination, tiredness, trouble concentrating and weight loss
  • Headaches, changes in vision, nausea or vomiting which requires immediate medical attention
  • Serious allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention.
  • Hip and knee pain or a limp in children, which can be a sign that the thigh bone and hip joint may have slipped out of place
  • Curvature of the spine or backbone in children (scoliosis)
  • Pain and tenderness in the abdomen, which could be a sign of a problem with the pancreas

These are not all of the possible side effects. Let your doctor know about any side effects you may experience.

How should you administer SAIZEN?

Patients and caregivers should be trained by a healthcare professional on how to mix and inject Saizen prior to use. Children should always be supervised.

You may report side effects to EMD Serono at 1-800-283-8088 ext 5563. You may also report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or

Please see the Prescribing Information for a complete list of SAIZEN Risk Information.

1. Atil Y. Kargi, George R. Merriam. “Diagnosis and Treatment of Growth Hormone Deficiency in Adults.” Nature Reviews: Endocrinology, Vol. 9; pg. 335-345. June 2013.
2. Cedars-Sinai, “About Growth Hormone Deficiency.” 2014