Growth hormone as concomitant treatment in severe fibromyalgia associated with low IGF-1 serum levels. A pilot study.

Cuatrecasas G, Riudavets C, Guell MA, Nadal A.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: There is evidence of functional growth hormone (GH) deficiency, expressed by means of low insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) serum levels, in a subset of fibromyalgia patients. The efficacy of GH versus placebo has been previously suggested in this population. We investigated the efficacy and safety of low dose GH as an adjunct to standard therapy in the treatment of severe, prolonged and well-treated fibromyalgia patients with low IGF-1 levels.

METHODS: Twenty-four patients were enrolled in a randomized, open-label, best available care-controlled study. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either 0.0125 mg/kg/d of GH subcutaneously (titrated depending on IGF-1) added to standard therapy or standard therapy alone during one year. The number of tender points, the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) and the EuroQol 5D (EQ-5D), including a Quality of Life visual analogic scale (EQ-VAS) were assessed at different time-points.

RESULTS: At the end of the study, the GH group showed a 60% reduction in the mean number of tender points (pairs) compared to the control group (p<0.05; 3.25+/-0.8 vs. 8.25+/-0.9). Similar improvements were observed in FIQ score (p<0.05) and EQ-VAS scale (p<0.001). There was a prompt response to GH administration, with most patients showing improvement within the first months in most of the outcomes. The concomitant administration of GH and standard therapy was well tolerated, and no patients discontinued the study due to adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS: The present findings indicate the advantage of adding a daily GH dose to the standard therapy in a subset of severe fibromyalgia patients with low IGF-1 serum levels. Trial Registration: NCT00497562 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

PMID: 18053120 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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Folllowing Rick Usher's death in December 2008, at his request in September of that year, I had agreed, as his principal contributor and an experienced journalist, to run the FMS Global News service due to his heavy commitments to music and raising research funds through this avenue. Following his sad and sudden death I hope to continue his work as he would have wished.
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