The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 22, 2012

Can supply, use of HGH be stopped?

NORMAN — A federal crackdown on illicit foreign supplies of human growth hormone has failed to stop rampant misuse, and instead has driven record sales of the drug by some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, an Associated Press investigation shows.

The crackdown, which began in 2006, reduced the illegal flow of unregulated supplies from China, India and Mexico.

But since then, Big Pharma has been satisfying the steady desires of U.S. users and abusers, including many who take the drug in the false hope of delaying the effects of aging.

From 2005 to 2011, inflation-adjusted sales of HGH were up 69 percent, according to an AP analysis of pharmaceutical company data collected by the research firm IMS Health. Sales of the average prescription drug rose just 12 percent in that same period.

Unlike other prescription drugs, HGH may be prescribed only for specific uses. U.S. sales are limited by law to treat a rare growth defect in children and a handful of uncommon conditions like short bowel syndrome or Prader-Willi syndrome, a congenital disease that causes reduced muscle tone and a lack of hormones in sex glands.

The AP analysis, supplemented by interviews with experts, shows too many sales and too many prescriptions for the number of people known to be suffering from those ailments. At least half of last year’s sales likely went to patients not legally allowed to get the drug. And U.S. pharmacies processed nearly double the expected number of prescriptions.

Peddled as an elixir of life capable of turning middle-aged bodies into lean machines, HGH — a synthesized form of the growth hormone made naturally by the human pituitary gland — winds up in the eager hands of affluent, aging users who hope to slow or even reverse the aging process.

Experts say these folks don’t need the drug, and may be harmed by it. The supposed fountain-of-youth medicine can cause enlargement of breast tissue, carpal tunnel syndrome and swelling of hands and feet. Ironically, it also can contribute to aging ailments like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • OU V Texas Casey sparks Sooners at the plate against Longhorns

    Oklahoma put runners in scoring position all night, but midway through Thursday’s series opener against Texas, the Sooners couldn’t do much with them. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, they had stranded a handful of runners, including ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tigers take series with Timberwolves

    Heather Jones made her final Crosstown Clash contest a game to remember....

    April 18, 2014

  • Shannon won’t face criminal charges

    Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault. Any punishment he receives will be through the University....

    April 18, 2014

  • Offense disappears in shutout loss to Mountaineers

    Everything Oklahoma did Thursday night looked rushed. It fell behind quickly, hacked at pitches early in counts and even recorded outs in a time-efficient manner....

    April 18, 2014

  • North girls escape with win over ESF

    EDMOND — Ranked No. 5 in the state and the winners of six straight games, three of them over top 10 teams, the Norman North girls looked every bit the dominant team Thursday night at Edmond Santa Fe … right up until they flirted with ...

    April 18, 2014

  • OU womens gym Sooners eager for title shot

    After fighting all season long to stay near the top of the women’s gymnastics rankings, the time has come for Oklahoma to show it belongs there. The NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships kick-off at 1 p.m. today and the second ranked ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fieger leads Senior PGA

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gene Fieger shot a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Thursday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship....

    April 18, 2014

  • Kuchar builds on momentum

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Kuchar, who tied for fifth at Augusta National, shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to share the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

    DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez’s starring role in the best Masters ever for players 50 and over was the perfect lead-in for his Champions Tour debut....

    April 18, 2014

  • Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field....

    April 18, 2014

Facebook