Growth hormone therapy is an efficient treatment for growth hormone deficiency and other conditions. But the variety of growth hormone injection brands and formulations can make it difficult for one to understand his treatment options.
This article provides an accessible comparison of major somatropin brands, including Genotropin, Norditropin, Omnitrope, Humatrope, Nutropin, and others.
We hope it helps you understand the landscape of available growth hormone therapies. But remember: growth hormone therapy is a potent treatment that can only be delivered with a prescription. It should only be used with medical guidance.
What is Growth Hormone Therapy?
Growth hormone therapy involves the injection of exogenous (externally sourced) growth hormone to patients whose bodies cannot produce enough on their own.
Human growth hormone (HGH), naturally produced by the pituitary gland, is essential for growth and development. It influences not only height but also muscle mass, bone density, and metabolism.
Growth hormone therapy most commonly treats growth hormone deficiency. In children, this condition often causes growth failure (diagnosed when a child is significantly shorter than peers and growing less than two inches per year). In adults, symptoms of GH deficiency generally include fatigue, difficulty with exercise, and mental function issues.
Growth hormone therapy is also used to treat other conditions, including:
- Turner syndrome: A genetic condition affecting girls, resulting in short stature and fertility issues.
- Prader-Willi syndrome: A rare genetic disorder causing poor muscle tone, low levels of sex hormones, and constant hunger.
- Chronic kidney disease: This condition can cause poor growth in children.
- Small for gestational age: Refers to babies who are smaller than normal for the number of weeks of pregnancy - if they do not catch up on their growth by age 2, growth hormone therapy may be considered.
- Wasting syndrome (severe, unintentional weight loss) in patients with HIV.
It is a prescription treatment with potential side effects, so it must be managed carefully, always under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
Growth hormone injections available in the U.S. are the following:
Let’s understand how they differ.
How Do Growth Hormone Brands Differ?
The different growth hormone injection brands are all forms of somatropin, or recombinant human growth hormone (rHGH).
They're generally similar in their medical efficacy since they all deliver the same active ingredient.
The main differences mostly come down to the delivery devices, dosing options, and formulation, which can affect patient preference and ease of use.
Differences in delivery systems and dosing increments are important because they affect patients' ability and willingness to adhere to their treatment.
As for side effects, they are generally similar across the different brands of growth hormones. They include reactions at the injection site, headaches, fluid retention, joint pain, and, in rare cases, the development of antibodies to the medication.
Pricing is another factor to consider. It will greatly depend on the specific product, dose, region, and insurance coverage, so it's advisable to check with local pharmacies or healthcare providers for the most accurate information.
Eventually, the decision about which growth hormone injections to use should be made in collaboration with a healthcare provider, considering the patient's specific needs and circumstances.
Overview of Different Growth Hormone Injections
Genotropin is one of the most prescribed growth hormones. It is produced by Pfizer.
Genotropin is administered through Genotropin Pens (multi-dose injector pens) or Miniquick Pens (single-dose, portable option for people on the go).
The Genotropin pen is known for its dosage digital display, as well as its optional needle guard for added safety, which can be beneficial for children or people who struggle with manual dexterity.
It’s available in 2 different strengths: a 5 mg green pen and a 12 mg purple pen.
Norditropin is also widely prescribed in the U.S.A. Like every growth hormone injection; it contains Somatropin as the active ingredient. It is manufactured by Novo Nordisk.
Norditropin is available in a device known as the FlexPro pen, a prefilled, multi-dose injector pen that doesn't require any reconstitution.
The pens are available in 4 different strengths: (5 mg / 1.5 mL (orange pen), 10 mg / 1.5 mL (blue pen), 15 mg / 1.5 mL (green pen), 30 mg / 3 mL (purple pen)).
Unlike Genotropin, Norditropin is not available in single-use portable pens.
Manufactured by Eli Lilly, Humatrope is similar to Norditropin, Genotropin, and other growth hormone injections.
It comes in multi-dose cartridges to insert in the HumatroPen, available in 3 different strengths: 6 mg (orange cartridge), 12 mg (blue cartridge), and 24 mg (purple cartridge).
The HumatroPen device allows for doses in increments of 0.1 mg, which may make it easier to adjust doses.
Related article: A Practical Guide to Using & Storing Humatrope pens.
Nutropin GH is produced by Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals. It comes in cartridges for use with the NuSpin pen, an easy-to-use injector pen known for its precise dosing and particularly handy for pediatric patients who often require lower doses.
It is also available in 3 different strengths:
- The Nutropin AQ NuSpin 5(Clear Color, 5 mg/2 mL) delivers somatropin doses from 0.05 to 1.75 mg in increments of 0.05 mg.
- The Nutropin AQ NuSpin 10(Teal Color, 10 mg/2 mL) delivers somatropin doses from 0.1 to 3.5 mg in increments of 0.1 mg.
- The Nutropin AQ NuSpin 20(Blue Color, 20 mg/2 mL) delivers somatropin doses from 0.2 to 7.0 mg in increments of 0.2 mg.
Manufactured by Merck, Saizen is another form of somatropin used to treat growth hormone deficiencies.
Saizen comes in different forms, including vials for reconstitution with a syringe and needle, and cartridges for use with the easypod or one-click reusable injector pens.
The easypod is an electronic, auto-injector system that delivers Saizen and tracks the history of injections, making it easier for patients and healthcare providers to keep track of the treatment.
For ease of use and to alleviate discomfort associated with injections, Saizen also offers the CoolClick 2 needle-free device. It uses a spring mechanism to deliver the medication through the skin, which may be more comfortable, particularly for children.
Skytrofa is another interesting growth hormone injection manufactured by Ascendis Pharma.
Skytrofa is unique and differs from other HGH treatments in that it’s given once a week instead of once daily. It’s a long-acting growth hormone.
This particularity can greatly reduce the burden of growth hormone therapy.
Zomacton by Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a powder to be mixed with a liquid and injected with a syringe. It is also available in ZomaJet needle-free injection device.
Manufactured by EMD Serono, Serostim is a recombinant human growth hormone approved by the FDA specifically for treating HIV-associated wasting or cachexia.Wasting in people with HIV involves unhealthy muscle and fat loss.
Unlike other HGH brands used for growth hormone deficiencies, Serostim is specifically formulated for adults with HIV who are experiencing unintended severe weight loss.
Serostim is available in vials that are reconstituted using accompanying diluent. It comes in different strengths (4 mg, 5 mg, and 6 mg) and is usually administered daily or every other day.
Growth hormone therapy continues to evolve with scientific advancements. New formulations, delivery methods, and brands constantly enter the market. For example, long-acting growth hormones are emerging, promising fewer injections and improved quality of life.
Remember that choosing a growth hormone type or brand is a complex decision that should be made with the help of a healthcare provider. Individual needs and medical situation must be carefully considered to ensure a safe, efficient, and convenient treatment.
And don't forget to get your travel cooler to keep your injections cool!