Acromegaly is due to chronic elevated levels of GH. Thus one would need to be using a fair amount of HGH to develop the acromegaly complications. However theoretically it can occur just as giving long term corticosteroid treatment can cause Cushings syndrome.
Exogenous GH side effects include headaches, visual problems, fluid retention (peripheral oedema), arthralgia, myalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, hypothyroidism, hyperglycaemia, hypoglycaemia.
In fact in some users I see some of the musculoskeletal side effects have been bad enough to decrease the dose/stop the HGH cycle.
Apart from the obvious signs/symptoms of Acromegaly such as coarse features/soft tissue swelling many of the above side effects are actually also symptoms of acromegaly.
Most studies are done in GH deficient individuals and thus not entirely relevant to the BBer.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Vol 43, 992-999, Copyright © 1976 by Endocrine Society
Effects of growth hormone in osteoporosis
JF Aloia, I Zanzi, K Ellis, J Jowsey, M Roginsky, S Wallach and SH Cohn
The effect of chronic administration of growth hormone (GH) to osteoporotic patients was studied using the techniques of total body neutron activation analysis, whole body counting, calcium tracer kinetics, photon absorptiometry, quantitative microradiography, and urinary hydroxyproline. Two dosage schedules were utilized for six months each: 2 units daily and 0.2 w3/4 units of GH daily (where W represents body weight expressed in kg). The lower dosage (2 units) did not produce any appreciable change in the indices studied. Following the higher dose, no evidence of any anabolic effect was apparent in most patients (i.e., no increase in total body levels of Ca, Na, K, P, or Cl). Increases were noted in the urinary calcium excretion rate and in the urinary hydroxyproline excretion. Bone mineral content decreased. The bone biopsies displayed an increase in bone formation and resorption surfaces in response to treatment, but these changes were not statistically significant. It may be concluded that under the conditions of this study, GH administration did not result in an increment in skeletal mass. Several side effects that are characteristic of acromegaly were observed, including hyperglycemia, hypertension, arthralgia, and the carpal tunnel syndrome. Because of the lack of demonstrated benefit and the associated complications of therapy, GH administration does not appear to be of value in the treatment of osteoporosis.
I included the above study because the subjects were not GH deficient and to highlight that longterm use can produce side effects similar to acromegaly as mentioned earlier.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 88, No. 11 5221-5226
Copyright © 2003 by The Endocrine Society
High Dose Growth Hormone Exerts an Anabolic Effect at Rest and during Exercise in Endurance-Trained Athletes
M. L. Healy, J. Gibney, D. L. Russell-Jones, C. Pentecost, P. Croos, P. H. Sönksen and A. M. Umpleby
Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, GKT School of Medicine, St. Thomas Hospital, London, United Kingdom SE1 7EH
The anabolic actions of GH in GH-deficient adults and children are well documented. Replacement with GH in such individuals promotes protein synthesis and reduces irreversible loss of protein through oxidation.
Although GH is known to be self-administered by athletes, its protein metabolic effects in this context are unknown.
This study was designed to determine whether 4 wk of high dose recombinant human GH (r-hGH) administration altered whole body leucine kinetics in endurance-trained athletes at rest and during and after 30 min of exercise at 60% of maximal oxygen uptake.
Eleven endurance-trained male athletes were studied, six randomized to receive r-hGH (0.067 mg/kg·d), and five to receive placebo.
Whole body leucine turnover was measured at rest and during and after exercise, using a 5-h primed constant infusion of 1-[13C]leucine, from which rates of leucine appearance (an index of protein breakdown), leucine oxidation, and nonoxidative leucine disposal (an index of protein synthesis) were estimated.
Under resting conditions, r-hGH administration increased rate of leucine appearance and nonoxidative leucine disposal, and reduced leucine oxidation (P < 0.01). This effect was apparent after 1 wk, and was accentuated after 4 wk, of r-hGH administration (P < 0.05). During and after exercise, GH attenuated the exercise-induced increase in leucine oxidation (P < 0.05). There were no changes observed in placebo-treated subjects compared with the baseline study. We conclude that GH administration to endurance-trained male athletes has a net anabolic effect on whole body protein metabolism at rest and during and after exercise
This was a small study but once again in non GH deficient subjects.
Point of interest is the dose used:
For a 80kg man
0.067mg * 80kg= 5.36mg/day
now 1mg HGH = 3 units (Iu)
So in the study they were injected with about 16 IUs per day for 1 month.
Interesting, high dose, short cycle (compare this with the usual advice given of lower dose 4 units over longer term 3 to 6 months)
Its some time since I read the full article but do not think they addressed the issue of side effects.
Finally it is interesting to note that for the first time last year, the FDA approved HGH (Humatrope) for license to use in healthy children of short stature. The implications of this are important as these children are NOT GH deficient, which was the previous clinical indication for GH use.
An association between HGH and cancers such as colon and leukaemia have been highlighted but not confirmed as a cause. If one has an undiagnosed tumour then this can be aggravated by HGH abuse.
So side effects can occur and the best way is too monitor blood levels of IGF-1 and titrate dose accordingly.