Crohn’s® and Colitis Information
Hormonal Treatment Aids Crohn’s Patients
From the NY Times National, Thursday, June 1, 2000 reported by the Associated Press
Human growth hormone combined with a high-protein diet significantly eased the symptoms of Crohn’s disease in three-quarters of patients with moderate to severe cases, a study has found.
Crohn’s affects the digestive tract, causing persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, bleeding and a breakdown of the intestinal wall. About half of Crohn’s patients require surgery to remove intestinal obstructions or repair holes in the bowel. No cure is known, although drugs can ease symptoms.
The study in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine [AE Slomin, MD. A Preliminary Study of Growth Hormone Therapy for Crohn’s Disease; New England Journal of Medicine 2000;342(22):1633-7] found that 11 of 19 adults treated with growth hormone while on a high-protein diet went into remission. Three others improved significantly. Eighteen patients taking a dummy drug while on a high-protein diet saw no significant improvement.
The study was supported by grants from Eli Lilly and Company and the Genetech Foundation for Growth and Development, a nonprofit organization that receives financing from Genetech Inc. Both pharmaceutical companies make growth hormone.
As many as one million Americans suffer from Crohn’s disease, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America said. Moderate to severe Crohn’s disease is diagnosed in up to 120,000 people each year.
Several anti-inflammatory and immune-suppressing drugs can send the disease into remission but do not prevent long-term relapse. Other drugs prevent relapse in some patients but do not make the disease go into remission.
The leader of the new study, Dr. Alfred Slonim of North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., said growth hormone caused few harmful side effects in children and adolescents who had taken it for years.
If further studies find the growth hormone is effective for long-term treatment of Crohn’s, it may prove safer than current remedies, Dr. Slonim said.
The cause of Crohn’s is unknown, but one theory is that infections or hereditary factors weaken the intestinal wall, making it more susceptible to inflammation and tissue breakdown when it comes in contact with disease-causing organism. An exaggerated immune response may also play a role.
From one of my first Crohn’s patients on Human Growth Hormone Replacement. Edward Lichten, MD, FACS
FROM: Ken Conroy
TO: Dr. Lichten, M.D.
RE: Treatment of Crohn’s disease with Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and Testosterone.
You have my permission to use my name regarding this therapy. Everything I have stated in the following comments is true. The following are my comments.
On May 17, 2000, I ate a whole banana and have continued to do so daily. While for almost everyone else, this is totally unremarkable. Yet for me it was a milestone. I have Crohn’s disease.
For the past ten (10) years I could not eat fruits or vegetables at all. If I did, I would experience days of severe intestinal pain and diarrhea.
About two (2) years ago, I was referred to Dr. Lichten, M.D. by another physician. Dr. Lichten, M.D. is an expert in hormone replacement therapy. After doing a series of blood tests, Dr Lichten found several of my hormones were quite low. In particular, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and Testosterone. The doctor began hormone replacement therapy. This therapy by Dr. Lichten, has changed my life.
What an improvement! The typical Crohn’s disease fatigue has almost vanished. I have GAINED considerable muscle mass while losing fat. The improvement in my physical strength and emotional sense of ‘well being’ is remarkable. And the typical Crohn’s disease pain is gone.
I now have enough energy to continue attending law school. No longer is there a need to repeatedly run to the rest room during the three (3) hour classes. With ‘conventional’ Crohn’s disease treatment, none of this would be possible.
Before starting the HGH and Testosterone therapy, I talked with other doctors. They advised against the therapy. They were very wrong. But as the old saying goes “People reject what they don’t understand."
Initially, the HGH and Testosterone therapy did have an immediate effect. But now, even after almost two (2) years of therapy by Dr. Lichten, I continue to improve. Each month I feel a little bit better than the month before. There is NO way this is a ‘placebo effect’. The dramatic increase in muscle size (with little exercise) and decrease in waist size cannot be due to the ‘placebo effect’.
Further, my last bone scan revealed that my bone thickness is that of a man between the ages of 25 and 29 years old. I am 61 years old. A placebo effect cannot do that. In fact, the instructions by the doctor who did this bone scan were: I should continue the HGH and Testosterone replacement therapy (with sufficient supplements of calcium and vitamin ‘D’).
There are other good side effects of hormone replacement therapy. For instance, most people genuinely believe that I am ten (10) to fifteen (15) years younger than I am. At times, in order to receive a seniors’ discount I am asked to prove that I am over 60 and not just 45 or 50 years old. On the other hand sometimes it is pleasant to allow people to continue thinking that I am much younger.
The preceding comments are meant to reveal my experiences only and no as a recommendation to anyone for any therapy. I am not posing as a medical expert. However, I am very thankful that I did not allow anyone to dissuade me from giving hormone replacement therapy a ‘test’. For me it worked.