HGH Human Growth Hormone increases breast milk volumes in mothers of preterm infants.
Randomized controlled trial
AIMS: To determine the galactopoietic response to recombinant human growth hormone (hGH) in mothers of premature infants with inadequate lactation.
STUDY DESIGN: Prospective placebo-controlled, double-blind trial.
SUBJECTS: Twenty healthy mothers on no concurrent medication, with infants born between 26 and 34 weeks' gestation with insufficient milk production for their infants' needs.
INTERVENTIONS: Ten mothers received hGH, .2 IU/kg/day subcutaneously to a maximum of 16 IU/day, for 7 days, while 10 mothers received the same volume of placebo. One mother from each group withdrew from the study.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Maternal milk production and plasma concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), and growth hormone (GH) were determined before starting treatment and 1 day after stopping therapy. A nurse measured the amount of milk expressed (5 to 6 times daily) plus, if the infant was suckling, weighed the infant before and after feeding.
RESULTS: The mothers were enrolled 35 +/- 26 days after birth; at this time the infants weighed 1.89 +/- .64 kg. Milk production in hGH-treated mothers increased from 139 +/- 49 mL/day to 175 +/- 46 mL/day after 7 days of treatment (a rise of 31%). Placebo-treated mothers showed no significant change from 93 +/- 50 mL/day to 102 +/- 69 mL/day (a rise of 7.6%, not significant). Milk production increased in all treated mothers but decreased in 4 of 9 placebo mothers. Plasma concentrations of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 increased in hGH-treated mothers but not placebo-treated mothers; there was no change in plasma GH levels in either group. No adverse effects were seen with hGH treatment in the mothers or infants.
CONCLUSIONS: hGH therapy in mothers with lactational insufficiency can improve breast milk volumes.