When HGH Can Be Legally Prescribed to Patients in the US

HGH In High Demand

HGH has been used to help treat growth hormone deficiency in children since the 1950s. It has, however, stayed off the radar for many years. Until 1990 it was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Daniel Rudman after he did a six-month-long study on a dozen male subjects. It was observed that those who took HGH had a tremendous 14.4% reduction in body fat and an 8.8% increase in lean muscle.

HGH Illegal Or Legal?

Though small, Dr. Daniel Rudman’s study inspired a lot of anti-aging literature plus benefits and spiraled across the world. In a short span of time websites selling HGH supplements in form of creams, and sprays were countless. Unfortunately HGH is only useful to the body when administered through injections.

To date, numerous changes have occurred around HGH and have raised so many issues of both moral and legal grounds.

When Can a Doctor Prescribe HGH

For a doctor to prescribe HGH to either children or adults, they have to do all medical tests required. Doctors can prescribe off-label- a practice where the physician recommends FDA-approved medication for a different condition than that of the patient. In fact, one out of five prescriptions is off-label which is legal.

Although FDA approved, HGH cannot be prescribed off-label. Regardless of what the patient seeks to treat, they must undergo all tests and the test results must beyond reasonable doubt prove that the best treatment is HGH therapy.

FDA Approved HGH Prescription Conditions

In 1988 and 1990, FDA amended the Food, Drugs and Cosmetic Act after researchers revealed an unforced law that physicians and entrepreneurs were exploiting. As a result, a provision was put that the HGH drug can be prescribed only for three conditions

  1. HGH deficiency in children that might result in dwarfism
  2. Adult HGH deficiency due to tumors in the brain and their treatment like radiation therapy
  3. Muscle wasting illness related to HIV/AIDS

Illegal HGH Use

Although HGH is not a controlled substance under CSA- Controlled Substance Act, as part of the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990, possession and distribution for uses other than approved ones were criminalized.

The sensitive nature of HGH means doctors have to walk on eggshells around prescription and treatment procedures. HGH has initially been used for conditions that are not FDA-approved. These include:

  • Younger skin with fewer wrinkles
  • Healthier Nails
  • Fast digestion
  • weight loss
  • Increased strength
  • Enhanced sexuality
  • Male Enhancement
  • Better eyesight
  • More muscles
  • Graying hair reversal
  • Hair growth
  • Better moods
  • Improved Brain Function
  • Stronger Bones

The one use that surpasses all is muscle building and increasing bone density. Bodybuilders and athletes alike have used HGH to enhance performance. Its ability when used alongside other steroids helps strengthen skeletal muscles fast and with better retention unlike basic training alone. It also helps in recovery after intense workouts.

The International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency have listed HGH as a performance-enhancing substance and banned it for use by athletes.

Implications of Illegal Prescription

Individuals caught using or in possession of HGH without proper medical authorization could end up in jail. A misdemeanor crime can lead to one year in incarceration. A felony can lead to five years in jail depending on the circumstances

People using HGH for the wrong reasons may dodge the fines and possible incarceration if they have a doctor’s prescription but that, unfortunately, puts the physician in jeopardy.

Doctors found at fault may end up losing or getting their license suspended- for example, a Kansas doctor Jackie Springer in 2004 lost her license to Kansas Medical Board for prescribing HGH without performing a diagnostic examination.

Fines for HGH can be up to $10,000 for doctors’ involvement in production mills and court probation order which demand full compliance.

Insurance Cover

The law prevents insurers from failing to ensure preexisting conditions like an HGH deficiency. However, the insurance company may ask for a higher co-insurance from the client due to the expensive nature of HGH treatment.

Insurance companies however stay away from paying for HGH injections targeted for illicit uses such as anti-aging and bodybuilding.



Illegal use of human growth hormone common among young male weightlifters, study finds

Raging Hormones

Frieden, J. (2006). FDA Holds Up Guidelines On Generic Insulin, HGH. Internal Medicine News, 39(11), 19. doi: 10.1016/s1097-8690(06)73606-x

Parikh, Vaishnavi, and Pardeep Gupta. “Thermodynamic Analysis of r-HGH-Polymer Surface Interaction Using Isothermal Titration Calorimetry.” Growth Hormone & Igf Research, 2018, pp. 86–93.

Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control. “Human Growth Hormone” fact sheet; August 2013. http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/hgh.pdf

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