The consequences of severe growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in adults and the beneficial effects of GH replacement therapy are clear. However, the majority of children who have a diagnosis of GHD and who are treated with GH do not have permanent GHD and will not require treatment during adulthood. Several issues must be considered in selecting candidates for adult GH treatment and transitioning their care from pediatrics to adult medicine. Counseling about possible lifelong treatment should focus on children with panhypopituitarism and those with severe isolated GHD that is associated with central nervous system abnormalities. When to terminate growth-promoting GH therapy should be guided by balancing the high cost of late-adolescent treatment with the attainment of reasonable statural goals. Retesting for GH secretion is appropriate for all candidates for adult GH therapy; the GH axis can be tested within weeks after the cessation of treatment, but confirming an emerging adult GHD state with body composition, blood lipid, and quality-of-life assessments may require 1 year or more of observation. Selecting patients for lifelong adult GH replacement therapy will present diagnostic, therapeutic, and ethical problems similar to those in treating childhood GHD. The experience and expertise of pediatric endocrinologists in diagnosing and treating GHD should be offered and used in identifying and transitioning appropriate patients to adult GH therapy.

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