Recombinant human growth hormone (HGH) is the drug of choice for conditions such as growth hormone deficiency (GHD). It is administered via injections which require mixing, dosing, and proper technique for injecting growth hormone subcutaneously.
Usually, the staff at the clinic where you recieve HGH therapy will do all these steps for you, but some clinics might not accept patients, due to situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why you should contact your doctor for instructions on mixing, injecting, and dosing HGH.
The optimal dose for you can be estimated by two main methods – either based on your body weight (weight-based) or by using a default starting dose (non-weight based). When considering the dose, you must consider how long you have been taking HGH injections, do you have any side effects, and what’s your body weight and body fat percentage.
Never change your dose without contacting your doctor for approval
Keep in mind that this article can provide only general information based on the current scientific studies.
In order to receive the most accurate and effective treatment according to your individual needs, you should consult with an experienced medical doctor.
How much HGH to take?
The weight-based method consists of calculating your dosage per kilogram of your body weight (kgBW). Each HGH brand has slightly different weight-based dosing recommendations for patients with GHD:
- Norditropin – maximum starting dose is 0.004 mg/kgBW and can be increased every 6 weeks up to 0.016 mg/kgBW
- Humatrope – maximum starting dose is 0.006 mg/kgBW and can be increased every 4-8 weeks up to 0.0125 mg/kgBW
- Genotropin – maximum starting dose is 0.006 mg/kgBW and can be increased every 4-8 weeks up to 0.012 mg/kgBW
- Saizen – maximum starting dose is 0.005 mg/kgBW and can be increased every 4 weeks up to 0.01 mg/kgBW
Instead of the calculations above, the non-weight-based method can be used as a rule of thumb for every GH product. Non-weight-based dosing for patients with GHD consists of a fixed starting dose of 0.2mg/day (equal to 0.6 IU/day) which can be slowly increased by 0.1-0.2mg every 4-8 weeks.
In fact, clinical trials have revealed that the weight-based method can lead to overdosing and side effects in patients who are overweight or obese. In such cases, starting with 0.2mg/day and slowly increasing the dose is the recommended approach.
The dose should be taken once per day, 6-7 days per week, to emulate the natural pulsatile release of growth hormone in the human body.
The best time to take HGH injections is in the evening
It takes at least a month of therapy for growth hormone injections to start working. The first noticeable benefits include fat loss around the abdomen and an increase in lean body weight.
According to scientific evidence, it takes six months or more for the majority of benefits to occur such as improved mood, higher energy levels, and better quality of life.
Dosage for different conditions in adults
Apart from GHD, there are other conditions in adults that might require HGH therapy. Those include Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) and cachexia due to HIV.
The optimal dosage for growth hormone deficiency patients varies from 0.2 mg/day to 1 mg/day
Usually, GH therapy is applied as a short-term treatment in these conditions, which is why the recommendations are for considerably higher doses compared to the ones used in GHD. Also, higher doses are used from the start of the therapy and there is no gradual increase.
HGH therapy in SBS should last up to 4 weeks and the recommended dose is 0.1mg/kgBW daily or up to 8mg/day. Studies haven’t investigated the effects of longer therapies, but short-term therapies combined with other medications show lasting results (up to 3 months).
The recommended dose of HGH therapy in HIV-associated cachexia is 0.1 mg/kgBW or up to 6mg. The dosage can be administered daily or any other day for up to 12 weeks. According to trials in HIV patients, common adverse effects due to high HGH doses include elevated blood sugar, edema, and pain in muscles and joints.
What is the optimal HGH dosage?
The optimal dosage for patients with GHD varies from 0.2 mg/day to around 1 mg/day. It depends on factors such as the length of HGH therapy, individual tolerance, effectiveness, and risk of side effects.
Studies have also investigated the optimal dosage for anti-aging, muscle gain, and surgery or injury recovery, by using higher doses for shorter periods. For example, a trial in aged men and women found anti-aging effects such as improved whole-body protein turnover when applying doses of 2 mg taken 3 times per week for up to 6 months.
A study in athletes investigating HGH effects on muscle gains achieved significantly increased muscle protein synthesis after 4 weeks of therapy while administering 5 mg per day. According to trials in surgery patients, healing can be sped up in less than a week of therapy by using even higher doses – 0.1 mg/kgBW daily.
However, such large doses must not be taken for longer than 3-4 weeks, because the risk of adverse reactions also increases with time. The most common reactions include water retention, edemas, pain in muscles and joints, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headache.
While current evidence suggests that low-dose HGH therapy does not increase the risk of diabetes and other chronic conditions, the long-term risks after high-dose GH are not fully investigated.
One-time overdose can lead to acute adverse reactions such as shaking, sweats, hunger, weakness, fast heartbeat, and nausea. In such cases call your medical doctor or other healthcare providers immediately.
Is HGH compatible with other drugs?
Generally, HGH therapy is compatible with most drugs. Patients with adrenal insufficiency who are taking cortisone and prednisone might require an increase in the doses. On the other hand, short-term glucocorticoid treatment might reduce the effectiveness of growth hormone therapy.
Estrogen and oral estrogen medications also reduce the effectiveness of HGH therapy and lower the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Thus, adjusting the dose of GH injections is recommended.
Patients with type 2 diabetes might require adjustment of their hypoglycemic agents due to the insulin sensitivity reducing effects of HGH therapy.
When is the best time to take HGH?
If you have GHD, the best way to take HGH is to imitate your natural growth hormone production. Since GH levels peak when insulin levels are lowest, such as during sleep and early morning, then the best time to take HGH injections should be in the evening.
HGH injections should be taken once a day, 6-7 days a week, to mimic the natural pulsation of growth hormone in the body
Scientific studies have also concluded that the metabolic effects of HGH injections are influenced by the time of administration and recommend mimicking the natural HGH secretion. Thus, it is recommended to take your HGH as a part of your bedtime routine, an hour before going to bed.
If you have missed a shot and it is almost time for the next one, you should skip the missed dose and continue taking your HGH injections according to schedule. Never double the dose to compensate for a missed one. Consult with your doctor if you miss more than 3 consecutive doses.