Sermorelin Therapy Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Risks, More

Jennifer E. Engen

To properly grow and develop, your body needs human growth hormone (hGH). This is a peptide hormone produced in the tiny part of your brain called the pituitary gland. Although hGH plays its most crucial role during childhood and adolescence, it continues to maintain healthy tissues and organs throughout your life. Because of that, hGH levels that are lower or higher than typical can lead to health problems both in children and adults.

As often is the case with such complicated machines as our bodies, hGH does not act alone. A molecule called the growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) controls hGH by releasing it from the pituitary gland into the bloodstream. If your blood test indicates low levels of hGH, your doctor may recommend injections of a synthetic form of GHRH, called sermorelin.

Keep reading to learn more about sermorelin, its benefits and risks, and when to consider using or avoiding sermorelin injections.

Sermorelin is used to diagnose and treat poor growth in children. It’s also sometimes used off-label to treat hGH deficiency in adults. Some research has suggested that it can be beneficial in people with certain recurrent brain tumors.

Children usually benefit the most from sermorelin. One older study reported that a daily injection of sermorelin increased growth rate in 74 percent of children after just 6 months.

Studies investigating benefits of sermorelin in adults are scarce, but researchers have observed that sermorelin injection increases hGH levels in the bloodstream. These findings have led to widespread claims that sermorelin is an anti-aging therapy that can restore your body’s natural hGH production. Indeed, some older research suggests that sermorelin may increase:

  • general well-being
  • lean body mass
  • insulin sensitivity
  • libido

However, definitive research to support the anti-aging effect of sermorelin is lacking. The use of sermorelin in healthy adults to reverse the effects of aging and in bodybuilding remains controversial.

Although long-term risks of sermorelin use are not known, it’s usually well-tolerated. However, as with any synthetic drug, it’s possible to have an allergic reaction. Let your doctor know about any allergies before taking this medication.

Medical emergency

If you notice any of the following symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, call emergency medical services or go to the nearest emergency room:

  • hives or other rashes
  • swelling of the mouth, tongue, lips, or face
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest

Side effects

The most common side effect of sermorelin is caused by its injection under your skin. You may experience any of the following at the site of injection:

  • irritation
  • itching
  • sensitivity
  • swelling
  • pain
  • redness

These reactions are typically short-lived and disappear without any action. As you get better at self-administering the shots, these symptoms may stop for good.

Other, much less common side effects of sermorelin may include:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • dizziness
  • flushing (redness in the face or neck)
  • headache
  • nausea
  • rash
  • sleepiness
  • taste changes
  • trouble sitting still

Drug interactions

Sermorelin may interact with other medications. Drug interactions that may interfere with sermorelin include:

  • antithyroid medications (levothyroxine)
  • cyclooxygenase inhibitors (aspirin)
  • glucocorticoids (prednisone)
  • insulin
  • muscarinic antagonists (atropine)
  • somatostatin-containing drugs or drugs that affect somatostatin (levodopa)

Make sure to let your doctor know about any medications and supplements you take (including vitamins) before starting sermorelin treatment.

Children and youths with poor growth are the primary candidates for sermorelin injections. In this group, sermorelin can help with both diagnosis and treatment of hGH deficiency.

Adults with diagnosed hGH deficiency can also benefit from sermorelin, according to older research. Healthy adults sometimes use this therapy for anti-aging and for bodybuilding; however this use remains controversial due to the scarcity of scientific evidence.

People with certain medical conditions may require additional screening before taking sermorelin and sometimes should avoid this therapy. These conditions include:

  • people who are allergic to sermorelin
  • people with hypothyroidism
  • women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • women who are breastfeeding

You don’t need to visit a doctor’s office for sermorelin injections. Instead, you can self-administer injections at home. Sermorelin is injected subcutaneously, which means under the skin.

To prevent contamination, wipe the rubber vial stopper with an antiseptic before puncturing it with the needle. When injecting, target the fatty tissue just below the skin. Many people inject their stomach or thigh. To avoid bruising and soreness, it’s best to switch up the location of the injection site. Ask your doctor to show you the best injection technique.

Sermorelin is administered once a day, ideally at night. Your doctor will determine your dosage and length of treatment based on your individual factors.

You may be wondering: If the purpose of sermorelin therapy is to increase the levels of hGH hormone, why can’t you just inject hGH? The answer is that many people do. In fact, research suggests that genetically engineered hGH is an effective treatment for both poor growth in children and hGH deficiency in adults. Unfortunately, hGH therapy is associated with numerous risks and side effects. Therefore, it may not be appropriate for some people.

Sermorelin helps your body produce more hGH. Children with growth delays and adults with hGH deficiency may benefit from this therapy. Although some healthy adults take it to prevent aging and for bodybuilding, there is no definitive research suggesting that sermorelin is effective for either of these purposes.

Although this medication is usually well-tolerated, tell your doctor about any allergies and medical conditions you have as well as medications and supplements you take. Check in regularly with your doctor while you’re taking it.

https://www.healthline.com/health/sermorelin

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