February 17, 2020
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Weekly GH therapy may reduce treatment burden for adults with GH deficiency

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Gudmundur Johannsson

A once-weekly injection of the long-acting human growth hormone derivative somapacitan was associated with improvements in truncal and visceral fat and lean body mass that were similar to daily GH treatment among a cohort of adults with GH deficiency, according to findings published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“The improvements were maintained at 86 weeks and treatment was well tolerated, with no unexpected safety concerns,” Gudmundur Johannsson, MD, PhD, professor in the department of internal medicine and clinical nutrition at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, told Healio. “Somapacitan may provide an alternative to daily GH treatment for adults with GH deficiency, with the need for less-frequent injections expected to reduce burden of treatment and cause less interference with daily life.”

In a randomized, parallel-group trial conducted across 17 countries, Johannsson and colleagues analyzed data from 301 adults with GH deficiency (adult or childhood-onset) who were treatment-naive at baseline, randomly assigned once-weekly somapacitan (n = 121), daily GH (n = 119) or once-weekly placebo (n = 61) for 34 weeks (mean age, 45 years). During an open-label 52-week extension period, 272 participants continued treatment with somapacitan or daily GH; those receiving placebo were switched to somapacitan, and those receiving daily GH were randomly assigned to continue daily therapy or receive somapacitan. Body composition was measured by DXA at baseline and at the end of each treatment period. Primary endpoint was change in truncal fat percentage from baseline to 34 weeks. Dose titration was based on insulin-like growth factor I standard deviation score values.

At 34 weeks, researchers found that participants who received somapacitan experienced a mean –1.06% reduction in truncal fat percentage compared with a 0.47% increase among those assigned placebo, for an estimated difference of –1.53% (95% CI, –2.68 to –0.38). Those assigned somapacitan also experienced improvements in visceral fat, lean body mass and IGF-I standard deviation scores.

Injection drugs 
A once-weekly injection of the long-acting human growth hormone derivative somapacitan was associated with improvements in truncal and visceral fat and lean body mass that were similar to daily GH treatment among a cohort of adults with GH deficiency.
Source: Adobe Stock

Improvements in body composition persisted at the end of the extension phase for participants who received somapacitan and daily GH. Adverse events did not differ between GH treatment groups.

“Despite the well-documented benefits of GH for this chronic condition, such as improved body composition, the need for daily GH injections — often on top of other hormonal replacement therapies — poses a barrier for many adults with GH deficiency,” Johannsson said. “A once-weekly GH treatment alternative could reduce the burden of treatment, leading to improved adherence and may lower the barrier to initiating and continuing replacement therapy.”

Johannsson said a phase 2 study with somapacitan has shown similar efficacy and safety compared with daily GH, and a confirmatory phase 3 trial among children with GH deficiency is ongoing, as well as a phase 2 trial among children born small for gestational age. – by Regina Schaffer

For more information:

Gudmundur Johannsson, MD, PhD, can be reached at gudmundur.johannsson@medic.gu.se.

Disclosures: Novo Nordisk funded this study. Johannsson reports he has received speaking fees from Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Otsuka, Pfizer, Serono and Shire, and has been a consultant for AstraZeneca, Merck, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Serono and Shire. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.