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New drug for Aids Wasting Disease

Oct 15, 1996

I would like to learn more about Serono's new drug, Serostim. How does it differ from the growth hormones on the market now and what are it's advantages over them? Is it reimbursable? Is it readily available? What clinicals are out there?

Response from Dr. Cohen

Somatotropin (Serostim) is recombinant human growth hormone, which was just approved by the FDA. It is generally given by subcutaneous injection at a dose of 4 to 6 mg per day for 12 weeks, depending on body weight. It is generally well-tolerated, and results in significant weight gain, including gains in lean body muscle mass.

The major draw-back to this drug is cost. It is extremely expensive-- certainly much more than any other treatment for wasting other than TPN. Since it was just approved, I cannot say how insurance companies will be dealing with reimbursement issues. As for trials, there will probably be fewer now that the drug is approved, but I understand that the FDA is requiring a study of maintenance therapy following the initial 12 week course. This is the only form of growth hormone that has been studied for AIDS-related wasting.

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