Adults with decreasing growth hormone (GH) levels may experience a variety of symptoms associated with a condition known as adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD). Numerous treatment options exist for correcting the ensuing hormonal balance that occurs as GH levels decline. The most commonly prescribed treatments are human growth hormone (HGH) injections and sermorelin acetate therapy. In this review, we will cover all the essential information you need to know about sermorelin for the treatment of AGHD.
Adult growth hormone deficiency is not a life-threatening condition. However, if it is left untreated, it can increase the risk of developing other health issues, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
Any of these issues can further weaken a person’s health, impact the quality of life, and even interfere with independence. Sexual decline, infertility, and weak immune system functions are also likely.
Sermorelin steps in when growth hormone production begins to decline. It does so by telling the somatotrophs (cells in the anterior pituitary gland) to increase growth hormone (somatotropin) secretion.
How does sermorelin differ from HGH therapy?
Whereas sermorelin acetate influences the amount of growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland, HGH therapy supplements it. Human growth hormone has the same molecular structure as somatotropin. When injected into the body, HGH enters the bloodstream as a supplemental version of GH, binding with the growth hormone receptor cells to perform all the same actions as naturally-produced somatotropin. The results from HGH therapy arrive much sooner than those of sermorelin, which takes longer to work since it only supports GH production and does not directly increase the amount of growth hormone in the bloodstream.
How do I know which treatment I need?
Any type of hormone replacement is a complex therapy best determined by an expert in the field. Hormone specialists understand the dosing protocol and will determine which treatment is best depending on the level of a person’s GH deficiency as well as overall health and symptom severity. Regarding HGH vs. sermorelin, HGH therapy is best for those individuals whose GH levels are so low that they are exhibiting either widespread or severe symptoms. Sermorelin is best for those in the early stages of growth hormone decline.
Sermorelin performs the same function as growth hormone-releasing hormone to stimulate growth hormone production.
Sermorelin acetate is an analog of a chemical released by the hypothalamus called growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH). The function of GHRH is to stimulate the somatotrophs to produce somatotropin. GHRH consists of 44 amino acid residues. Sermorelin contains the first 29 of those amino acids – the ones that promote GH production. GHRH receptors in the anterior pituitary gland utilize sermorelin the same way they would GHRH.
Sermorelin has a molecular weight of 3,358 daltons and is a sterile, non-pyrogenic, lyophilized (freeze-dried) powder requiring reconstitution before use. The brand name of sermorelin is Geref, and it is also available in generic form.
As with pituitary growth hormone, sermorelin functions in the body through the binding with GH receptor cells. Upon binding, sermorelin vanishes from the bloodstream just as GH. Sermorelin acetate benefits the adult body in the following ways:
- Increasing lean muscle mass and bone density
- Improving metabolic functions for better food conversion into energy and fat burning
- Supporting healthy insulin, blood glucose, and immune functions
- Stimulating brain functions such as learning, concentration, and memory
- Regulating endorphin levels and maintaining a balanced mood and emotions
- Increasing energy and endurance
- Improving sleep
- Strengthening the cardiovascular system (also decreasing LDL and total cholesterol and blood pressure levels)
- Enhancing sex drive and sexual performance
- Regenerating nerve tissue – neuroprotective benefits for the brain
- Supporting repair and recovery from injury and illness
- Improving skin tone, texture, and appearance
- Speeding and thickening hair growth
- Facilitating better recovery from exercise
- Promoting the production of insulin growth factor 1 and testosterone while reducing cortisol levels
Instructions for Using Sermorelin Acetate
The information provided below supports the use of sermorelin acetate by adults. As with all forms of hormone replacement therapy, treatment with sermorelin requires doctor authorization and supervision. Do not purchase sermorelin without a prescription, or from unregulated sources. Always get this and all medications from a licensed US pharmacy to ensure safety.
Sermorelin is indicated for use by adults with a diagnosed decline in growth hormone production. Warning signs and symptoms of low GH levels include, but are not limited to the following:
- Continued fatigue
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia
- Weight gain
- Joint pains, height shrinkage, weak or brittle bones
- Muscle loss
- Low libido
- Sexual dysfunction
- PMS or menopausal symptoms
- Hair thinning or loss
- Decreased collagen and elastin – resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin
- Poor focus
- Memory loss or impaired cognitive functions
- Frequent or longer-lasting illness
- Brittle nails
- Sensitivity to temperature changes
- Reduced heart or organ functions
- High cholesterol
- Insulin resistance
Dosage & Administration
The doctor will provide the proper dosage and frequency of treatment. Do not alter the dosing, frequency, or time of treatment without doctor authorization. Most people inject sermorelin before bed, as that best mimics the natural cycle of growth hormone release. More than half the body’s daily supply of growth hormone enters the bloodstream during periods of deep, slow-wave sleep.
Sermorelin administration is via subcutaneous injection to the abdomen. Remember to use a fresh needle for each dose, sterilizing both the sermorelin vial and skin area with an alcohol swab before proceeding. Alternate abdomen sides with each use.
Storage and Use
Keep sermorelin in the refrigerator at a storage temperature between 36° and 46°F. Before using, sermorelin vials require reconstitution with the provided diluent. Do not use the product after reconstitution beyond the expiration date or if it is discolored, cloudy, or contains particles or crystals. Discard of unused medication as directed in your city – do not pour down a drain or flush in the toilet. Do not freeze sermorelin or subject it to heat.
Glucocorticoid therapy taken at the same time as sermorelin may inhibit its response. As with all medications, let the doctor know everything taken, including vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter preparations.
Sermorelin may also interact with thyroid medications or influence untreated hypothyroidism. Hormone specialists monitor thyroid hormone levels during treatment.
Warnings & Precautions
Some people may develop anti-GRF antibodies during their sermorelin treatment. Antibodies do not interfere with growth hormone secretion or cause any adverse reactions. A positive reading one time often turns negative on subsequent assessments.
It is not known if sermorelin is excreted in breast milk, and the drug is a category C pregnancy risk. Therefore, a woman should only use sermorelin during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh any potential risks.
Do not use sermorelin if there is a sensitivity or allergy to any of the ingredients in the medication or diluent. Tell the doctor about any other allergies to food, medicines, animals, preservatives, or dyes.
Sermorelin has fewer side effects risks than HGH, with the most common being injection site reactions such as:
- Inflammation or swelling
Other side effects that are uncommon but could occur include:
- Upper respiratory conditions – cold-like symptoms
- Gynecomastia (male breast enlargement)
- Joint, nerve, or muscle pain
- Chest pain
- Somnolence (sleepiness)
- Dysphagia (trouble swallowing)
- Urticaria (hives)
Do not exceed the recommended dosage of sermorelin. No specific overdose risks are noted; however, taking extra sermorelin will not increase the benefits.
Sermorelin comes in 6 mg, 9 mg, and 15 mg lyophilized vials.
Clinical Pharmacology of Sermorelin
Sermorelin mimics the GHRH peptide and acts on the same receptors in the anterior pituitary gland to stimulate growth hormone release. By increasing the proliferation of somatotrophs, the amount of growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland also increases.
As sermorelin improves GH production, it results in increased synthesis of insulin growth factor 1 in the liver. Growth hormone is the primary stimulator of IGF-1 secretion. In return, IGF-1 mediates many GH functions in the body.
The peak concentration of sermorelin is reached within 5 to 20 minutes of administration. It is best to inject sermorelin before bed to mimic the natural nocturnal secretion cycle and usage of growth hormones by the body.
Some pharmaceutical companies offer assistance programs to help adults with the cost of medications to benefit growth hormone deficiency. Our medical advisors check to see if each client qualifies for any such programs.
To learn more about sermorelin and HGH therapies, please contact our hormone clinic for a complimentary, confidential consultation by phone.