Newswise — Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) among adults is associated with greater medical costs and an increased rate of other health conditions compared with those without GHD, according to industry-sponsored research being presented Monday at ENDO 2022, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

GHD is a rare disorder linked to poor quality of life and central adiposity, which increases the risk for metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and decreased bone mineral density. Daily somatropin injections improve the condition and quality of life, but treatment rates remain low.

This study, led by Alden Smith, PharmD, Global Head of Health Economics and Outcomes Research at Ascendis Pharma in Palo Alto, Calif., was created to analyze these healthcare costs and daily somatropin use among adults with GHD with Medicaid or commercial health insurance in the United States.

“Growth hormone deficiency in adults leads to 4-5 times higher medical costs and more than double the rate of disease-associated endocrine, metabolic, hepatic, renal and cardiovascular conditions than those seen in populations without growth hormone deficiency,” Smith said.

Smith and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of claims data from more than 25,000 patients diagnosed with GHD between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2017. Those with GHD were directly matched to controls without GHD, based on age, gender, plan type (Medicaid vs. commercial health insurance), region and race.

Data show those adults diagnosed with GHD experienced higher rates of endocrine conditions (>68% in adult GHD vs. ≤10% in control group), metabolic conditions (>93% vs. ≤39%), hepatic and renal function conditions (18-23% vs. <10%), and cardiovascular disease (41-53% vs. <29%).

Mean annual healthcare costs were 4.6 times greater for adults with GHD in the Medicaid group compared with controls ($42,309 vs. $9,146). Costs were 4.1 times greater for those with commercial health insurance compared with controls ($30,111 vs. $7,376).

Only 5.8% of adult GHD patients were treated with somatropin in the commercial health insurance cohort, and just 9.5% of adult GHD patients were treated with somatropin in the Medicaid cohort.

“As discussions on the need to treat growth hormone deficiency in adults continues to evolve, this research reinforces the significant economic burden seen in this disease,” Smith said. “Further research is needed to gain insight into reasons for low treatment rates and to determine if treatment can reduce this economic burden and improve the comorbidities that adults with GHD experience.”

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