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Kevin Cj Yuen

Adult growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a syndrome characterized by adverse phenotypic, metabolic, and quality-of-life features. Over the past 2 decades, there is accumulating evidence demonstrating improvement of most of these parameters when GH is optimally replaced. Appropriate selection of patients at risk of GHD is crucial when considering and performing appropriate testing to establish the diagnosis. While generally safe, GH replacement requires careful dose initiation and monitoring to assure effectiveness and tolerance in treated patients. Several consensus clinical practice guidelines recommend evaluation of adults presenting with pituitary disorders for GHD. However, the clinical practice of managing such patients varies among countries largely due to lack of recognition of the condition, lack of GH availability, and lack of reimbursement of the drug, as demonstrated from a large online survey prepared by the European Society of Endocrinology involving 2148 patients from Europe and Australia. These data reinforce the notion of the large variability of disease recognition, clinical practice and education of adult GHD amongst healthcare professionals, and the lack of availability and reimbursement of the drug contributing to the under-utilization of GH replacement therapy in several countries. This commentary article highlights the fact that despite the publication of several guideline recommendations and positive long-term safety and efficacy data of GH replacement, there is still a need for increased education to enhance the awareness in the general population and improve the knowledge of healthcare professionals and administrators of adult GHD as a disease state to allow for early identification and treatment optimization.