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Human Growth Hormone and HIV
Sep 4, 2013

Hi there! I am hiv-positive and not on a therapy. My CD4 is 500 (25%). I consider taking 5 IU of hGH daily. Since hGH may have some effect on immune system by reactivating the thymus gland and stimulating immune function, is there a possibility that the HGH would stimulate the virus by stimulating CD4 in people without HAART? Can I take it and is it relatively safe? By the way, I am aware of all other side effects that may arise with gHG and ready to take them.

Response from Mr. Vergel

Growth hormone is expensive and overrated. The brand name Serostim is approved to treat HIV related wasting syndrome. A growth hormone releasing hormone called Egrifta (tesamorelin) is approved for the treatment of abdominal fat in HIV.

5 IU's of growth hormone are a bit under 2 mg so that should not have the horrible side effects of the dose pushed by Serono for wasting syndrome (6 mg per day).

Why anyone decides to start a hormone like that without starting HIV treatment first puzzles me! What is the use of trying to build your thymus when you are allowing HIV replicate and populate your reservoirs?

Yes, there is some preliminary data from a small study done by Dr Laura Napolitano on the use of 3 mg followed by 1.5 mg per day of human growth hormone to determine its effect on the function of the thymus and immune cells in 22 HIV+ patients. There was a considerable increase in CD4 cell counts and thymus function. Those with higher baseline CD4 cells and younger age seemed to get more benefits. Most patients in the study were taking HIV medications and had undetectable viral load. The study does not explain what happened to those with detectable viral load like yourself. Also, ninety-five percent of GH recipients experienced adverse events (AEs) of grade 2 or higher. Most GH-associated AEs were well-described effects of GH treatment, including arthralgias (joint pain), abnormalities in glucose metabolism, edema, and carpal tunnel syndrome. The effects of GH on T cells disappeared when the hormone was stopped.

Growth hormone enhances thymic function in HIV-1infected adults

There was a study finished in 2009 but the results were never published. I wonder if negative results explain why it has taken 4 years and we are yet to see data.

Growth Hormone to Increase Immune Function in People With HIV

I hope this helps you make an educated decision.

Nelson



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