Gigantism and Dwarfism

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What drugs or treatments are available to help correct conditions of gigantism and dwarfism and how do they work?

When the pituitary gland overproduces the growth hormone a rare disorder known as Acromegaly or gigantism may develop. The overproduction of the growth hormone most of the time is caused by a tumor. Swelling and thickening of the skin, growth and enlargement of the bones, especially if the hands, feet and face are caused by excess growth hormone.

Acromegaly or gigantism is a rare hormonal disorder than can develop when your pituitary gland overproduces the growth hormone. Most of the time this overproduction of the growth hormone is caused by a tumor. The excess growth hormone causes swelling, thickening of the skin, tissue growth and enlargement of the bones, especially in the hands, feet and face.

The overproduction of the growth hormone in children can lead to a condition known as gigantism. This may lead to an abnormal increase in the height and bone growth. Overproduction of the growth hormone in middle aged adults causes acromegaly.

The treatment of choice in pituitary tumors is surgery. When surgery cannot be performed or if the entire tumor cannot be removed, then the treatment of choice is medications.

Somatostatin analogues (SSA) are synthetic versions of the hormone in the brain somatostatin. Two SSA's are octreotide (Sandostatin, Sandostatin LAR) and lanreotide (Somatuline Depot). Somatostatin is a hormone that inhibits the release of the growth hormone. SSA's can decrease the growth hormone levels by blocking the excess production in the pituitary gland. Common side effects are pain at the injection site, intestinal cramping, diarrhea and gallbladder problems.

Growth hormone receptor antagonists (GHRAs). The medication pegvisomant (Somavert) blocks the effect of growth hormone on the body tissues. It is administered daily by a subcutaneous injection. This medication can normalize growth hormone levels and

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