Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency Increases Medical Costs, Risk of Additional Health Conditions

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) among adults is associated with greater medical costs and an increased rate of other health conditions compared with those without GHD, according to industry-sponsored research presented at ENDO 2022 in Atlanta.

Researchers led by Alden Smith, PharmD, Global Head of Health Economics and Outcomes Research at Ascendis Pharma in Palo Alto, Calif., point out that treatment of adults with GHD is associated with improvement in metabolic impairment and quality of life, but that poor adherence to or lack of treatment with somatropin is associated with reduced or lack of efficacy and increased costs. “This study analyzed healthcare costs and daily somatropin use among adults with GHD who had Medicaid or commercial health insurance in the U.S.,” the authors write.

Smith and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of claims data from more than 25,000 patients diagnosed with GHD between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2017. Those with GHD were directly matched to controls without GHD, based on age, gender, plan type (Medicaid vs. commercial health insurance), region, and race.

The researchers found that compared to controls, GHD patients were disproportionately affected by comorbidities, including endocrine conditions, metabolic conditions, hepatic and renal function conditions, and cardiovascular disease, and were disproportionately treated with concomitant medications. “Mean annual all-cause healthcare costs were 4.6 times greater ($42,309 vs. $9,146) for Medicaid GHD patients than controls and 4.1 times greater ($30,111 vs. $7,376) for commercial GHD patients than controls,” the authors write. “For Medicaid GHD patients, inpatient costs were a primary driver ($22,385 vs. $3,494 for controls), while outpatient costs made up the largest proportion for commercial patients ($13,083 vs. $4,057 for controls). Few patients were treated with somatropin therapy in both Medicaid (5.8%) and commercial (9.5%) GHD cohorts.”

Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that adult patients with GHD experience a substantial comorbidity and economic burden compared to non-GHD controls. “Adult GHD remains primarily untreated and presents a significant healthcare burden,” the authors write.