Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is characterized by hyperphagia, obesity if food intake is not strictly controlled, abnormal body composition with decreased lean body mass and increased fat mass, decreased basal metabolic rate, short stature, low muscle tone, cognitive disability, and hypogonadism. In addition to improvements in linear growth, the benefits of growth hormone therapy on body composition and motor function in children with PWS are well established. Evidence is now emerging on the benefits of growth hormone therapy in adults with PWS. This review summarizes the current literature on growth hormone status and the use of growth hormone therapy in adults with PWS. The benefits of growth hormone therapy on body composition, muscle strength, exercise capacity, certain measures of sleep-disordered breathing, metabolic parameters, quality of life, and cognition are covered in detail along with potential adverse effects and guidelines for initiating and monitoring therapy.
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