Growth hormone may relieve fibromyalgia pain
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Daily injections of growth hormone may help reduce pain and improve the quality of life in some patients with fibromyalgia, new findings of a small study suggest.
Fibromyalgia, which causes muscle pain and fatigue, is seen more often in women than in men. Muscle spasm and tightness can often be elicited by depressing certain "trigger points" overlying the muscles. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but stress, poor sleep, injury, infections, and other conditions have been linked to the disorder.
There is evidence of growth hormone deficiency and growth hormone resistance in some fibromyalgia patients, a Spanish research team explains in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.
Dr. Guillem Cuatrecasas at Centro Medico Teknon in Barcelona, and colleagues conducted a study of growth hormone therapy in 24 patients. The patients, mostly female, had severe disease of at least 1-year duration and pain in at least 16 of 18 fibromyalgia trigger points. The patients had been treated with standard therapies, including antidepressant medications, rehabilitation, and counseling.
Twelve patients were randomly selected to receive daily injections of growth hormone therapy. The other 12 patients received no growth hormone injections, but continued their usual treatment.
After 12 months, the number of tender points was much lower in the growth hormone group: an average of 6.50 versus 16.5 in the comparison group. Growth hormone therapy was also associated with improvements in quality of life.
The authors note that a larger, multicenter study is currently underway that may help verify these findings.
SOURCE: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, November 30th online issue, 2007.