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Somatropin Supplement & Growth

author image Benjamin Small
Benjamin Small has worked with "The Western Front," "Klipsun Magazine" and as an intern for publications such as "The Snowboarder's Journal," "The Skier's Journal" and the "Flyfish Journal." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Western Washington University.
Somatropin Supplement & Growth
Bodybuilder lifting weights in gym Photo Credit: ko_orn/iStock/Getty Images

Somatropin is a type of synthetic human growth hormone, also known as HGH, that is used for a variety of medical applications. HGH is produced naturally in the body through the pituitary glands and can also be extracted and administered as a supplement. Somatropin is often used to treat patients with growth hormone deficiencies and is sometimes employed by body builders to increase muscle mass, although there are legal ramifications for taking somatropin without a prescription.

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The first medical use of HGH occurred in 1958 with the efforts of endocrinologist Maurice Raben. Raben extracted hormones from the pituitary gland of a cadaver to treat a young patient experiencing growth hormone deficiency. However, it was later discovered that HGH from cadavers could cause a fatal side effect in the form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Cadaver HGH was quickly abandoned as a treatment. In 1981 somatropin was created as the first synthetic HGH.

Medical Uses

Somatropin is used to treat a number of ailments, such as growth hormone deficiencies, kidney failure, Turner syndrome, Noonan syndrome and short bowel syndrome. It can also be used to treat AIDS victims experiencing severe weight loss as well as to promote growth for children born with short stature who are missing catch-up growth.


Most human growth hormones require a doctor-approved prescription to be legal. While somatropin is not usually prescribed for recreational applications, many avid bodybuilders and athletes use it or a similar form of HGH to enhance muscle development and physical abilities. In many cases, using somatropin in this manner is illegal.

Minor Side Effects

Somatropin may interact with other medication, so it is important to disclose this information to your doctor to reduce the risk of serious side effects. It is uncommon to encounter serious side effects when all other medications and medical problems are taken into consideration and if somatropin is taken as prescribed. However, there are some common minor side effects, which include headaches, joint pain including stiffness or swelling, nausea or stomach pains and minor rashes at the injection site.

Serious Risks

Using somatropin recreationally, failing to disclose relevant medical information or failing to follow the doctor's prescription can trigger serious side effects. Somatropin increases insulin levels and may cause hypoglycemia, which means that the body has insufficient glucose. Severe join pain and carpal tunnel syndrome may result from misuse of somatropin. Taking higher than normal doses may result in an extended belly, especially if used to promote bodybuilding. Finally, patients suffering from abnormal bone growth, also known as acromeglia, may experience increased progression of the disease if taking somatropin irresponsibly.

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