Use of aromatase inhibitors for up to 3 years in combination with growth hormone may be an effective and safe option to help very short adolescent boys grow taller, a study presented at ENDO 2016 has found. 

Treating growth-retarded children in puberty with growth hormones alone can be challenging as the presence of sex steroids limit the time frame for linear growth in that period. By blocking the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, aromatase inhibitors can extend the growth life of these children, allowing for taller height, without slowing down their progression through puberty. 

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Researchers compared the safety and efficacy of growth hormone with aromatase inhibitors, alone and in combination in 76 adolescent boys with idiopathic short stature (ISS). The groups were matched for height, body mass index, midparental height and bone age. They measured baseline body measurements, left-hand X-rays for bone ages, bone densitometry, lateral spine X-rays, and blood samples. For 2 years, 25 boys were assigned to growth hormone alone, 25 to an oral aromatase inhibitor (anastrozole or letrozole), and 26 to receive both. The option to continue through 36 months was available for those with residual height potential who desired to extend their treatment.

At Month 24, the boys taking both growth hormone and aromatase inhibitor gained more height and had higher change in predicted adult height than those on growth hormone or aromatase inhibitors alone. Also, boys taking combination growth hormone and aromatase inhibitors accrued more lean body mass than the other study groups. Researchers added the study patients are continuing to be followed-up until they reach near-adult height.

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