How to give a Human Growth Hormone injection…

First, you have to get your Genotropin pen out of the refrigerator.  There it is, next to the ham…isn’t that ironic?

Next, you have to get your supplies lined up…the pen, the needle, and an alcohol pad…

Take the green cap off of the pen and screw on the disposable needle…









Take the protective cap off of the needle and carefully place the retractable cap on the pen…

when pressed against the skin the cap will retract and just the tip of the needle will poke through the hole…

by pressing the red button, you will activate the pen.  The “clicky” part at the top of the pen pops out and you twist it, like a dial, to the dosage level–for Hope, that’s .02 mLs every night…

Usually, we give Hope her shot after she has fallen asleep…the alcohol, cold as it is, sometimes wakes her up. 









 She gets her shots in one of six locations, a different spot every night which we write on our calendar a month at a time: left and right thigh, left and right butt, and left and right abdomen, about an inch off either side of her belly button.  Tonight’s shot is in the left thigh…you pinch off a section of chub, inject the pen at a right angle and hold for five seconds…

carefully put the needle cover back on, unscrew the needle and dispose in the Sharps container…








All done!

I wondered, before we started giving the shots, if the routine would be a nightly reminder of the grief of diagnosis and the uncertainty of the future.  Sometimes it is, but most of the time it’s just one more thing you have to do, like brushing your teeth, before going to bed.  In the five+ months that we’ve been giving the shot I think that Hope has reacted as though in pain only once or twice.  I took a similar shot when we were conceiving both girls and I know from experience that the needle is barely perceptible….and I’m a huge sissy.

Of course I do think about what I am doing every time I give the injection, I over-think everything–why would this be any different–but usually I just kind of marvel at the fact that we have to do it at all and grumble to myself that I wish we had done it earlier that night so that I could go to bed.  The injection is no more or less a tangible reminder of Prader Willi syndrome, at least not for me–it’s always on my mind.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in seeing what the nightly shot routine looks like.

This entry was posted in Postcards from Holland, PWS, Scrapbook and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to How to give a Human Growth Hormone injection…

  1. maya says:

    I really like the blog on WordPress! Looks great.
    Happy new year to you and your beautiful family.

  2. Jennifer says:

    hey thanks! double thanks actually!

  3. Sygnet says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog post. I have a child that requires the HGH injections but I do not use the pen. It is interesting to see how it works. You have a beautiful daughter. I wish you only the best in the future!

  4. Tom says:

    Hi I’m 11 I’ve been taking grouth hormone injects every night for 6 months now. It’s cool how you use the pen I use the electronic injection macine called “easypod”, well there right it’s realy easy you just put a needle
    In it then place on skin and it’s senses your skin and injects! Bye!

  5. Kristen Dilley says:

    My 8 year old daughter gets a nightly injection. It has been hard lately and I came across your blog while I was looking for information. It is working well for us, although the shots themselves are difficult. Your daughter is beautiful! I hope it continues to go well for you!

  6. natalie says:

    hey I’m 14 and I have been doing the growth hormone shots for 6 months. I have short stature. when i started back in august, I was 4 foot 7 and 72 pounds. now in feburary I’m 4 foot 9 and 85 pounds. I just started high school right after I began the injections. My mom gives them to me. We don’t use the needle hider though, like you do. I only need to do the shots for a year. I saw your blog and I though, well i might as well leave my story 🙂

    I wish the best for your adorable little girl.

  7. Brianna says:

    THank you im about to start and hope for her and im 14

  8. Jen says:

    Thank you for reading!! I hope things go well with the shots!

  9. sheena says:

    Thank you for this step by step post. Our 9 month old baby girl has Turner’s Syndrome and we were asked by her endo if we wanted to start her on GH today. Today we declined but at her next appt I think we may have to start since she has fallen WAY off the growth charts.
    I am so nervous about having to give shots to our baby. And our baby is skinny too so there’s no chub to grab. If Hope is awake when you give her the shot does she cry? Do you think she can feel the GH going in her system?
    Your baby girl is BEAUTIFUL. Congratulations on the gift of having her in your life.

  10. Jen says:

    We’ve gone through periods with Hope where there was very little chub to inject but the needle is SO TINY, and SO FINE that she has NEVER complained. I had to use the same gauge needle when I was trying to get pregnant and taking fertility drugs and I can tell you from personal experience that, chub or not, the needle is barely perceptible. Sometimes Hope is awake, sometimes we forget and do it when she’s asleep. She doesn’t mind either way — she knows she gets a shot and she’ll happily proclaim “I get shot!” when we walk in with the pen. Honestly, I think the most “uncomfortable” aspect of the whole process for her is the alcohol swab because it’s so cold — that’s really the only part that comes close to waking her up. In the beginning we’d panic if we couldn’t find chub, but over time we’ve realized that the whole process is just not a big deal for her. So don’t worry about it, it’s not that big a deal. Hope you’ll keep in touch and let me know how things go!

  11. sheena says:

    Hearing how Hope is so nonchalant about shots is very encouraging. How old is Hope now? Has she ever had any side effects or complications?
    Also, I realize that this may vary person to person, but do you know how long kids with growth disorders are generally on GH? Do they stop GH when they catch up to their peers and then start again when they fall off the charts or do they just continue to take them for years? I should have asked our endo that question at our appt today but I was too shell-shocked to think clearly.
    Our daughter’s growth, which had been making a nice little 45 degree angle line since birth, dropped completely off the chart. We knew to expect her to drop off at some point but it’s still shocking when it happens and we were hoping it wouldn’t happen for a long time. We still have 3 more months to try to chub her up before her next appointment. If she can go from 13 to 16 pounds by the end of October we can put off GH a little longer. I’m praying but I have to say it looks doubtful. guess that’s why I’m reading about GH.
    Thanks so much for the info. Oh, I read one of your other posts about having to pump breast milk due to Hope having a weak suck. I also became the human cow for three months as I had to pump all of Kylie’s meals since she also had a weak suck and we didn’t want to give her formula. I have a very low milk supply and was trying to home school our three older children in Japan at the time. SO stressful. Thank GOD those days are over. It was worth it though, as now Kylie is exclusively breastfed and we will probably BF for a long time since BFing can decrease her odds of getting celiac disease which she is considered predisposed to getting. I commend you for pumping for 6 months. That’s a LONG time and takes true dedication and devotion.

  12. Lucy Rogers says:

    Hi. Im 19 years old and i am completely Growth Hormone Defiecient, i have been ever since i was 3 years old. I started injections at this age and came off when i was 14. I used to have the actual syringe. About 2 years before i came off them i was offered the pen injection but didn’t get along with it too well as i liked seeing the needle actually go in, i found that with the pen it was abit of a shock for me when it clicked and the needle went into the leg.
    As it happens i have a review coming up and due to being on the medication for so long and then coming off it, now its all out of my system it’s affecting my weight and my moods/stress levels so i may have to go back onto the injections. Got to admit i’m a little worried as it will be the pen injection i go onto.

    I wish you and your daughter all the luck in the world as i know exactly how it is to grow up with this from such a young age. 🙂

  13. Lynette says:

    Nice blog site! We’ve been giving our son growth hormone for two years, always while he is asleep. Sometimes he wakes up but he never remembers. He has very little fat so we’ve never been able to give it in his belly. We use the miniquicks per doctor’s recommendation. So far, so good! Do you still give it to her while she is asleep?

  14. Jen says:

    Thanks! We give it to her at bedtime. Sometimes she’s asleep, most of the time not. We figured it’s better to get her used to the process now than have to go thru it later (especially if she inherits my “fondness” of needles)

  15. Maria says:

    I give my son before bedtime…before i or his home care nurse give him his xopenex and pulmicort. doctor suggested to give it at night time because 2/3 of the growth happens then…they are the expert so let it be.

  16. victoria says:

    hi! your little one is gorgeous! 🙂 hehe

    my daughter is 3 right now and we just started giving her gh shots everyday because she has optic nerve hypoplasia. at first, we tried to do it during the day where we though explaining things to her would help. it didn’t, although she knew what the shots were for and what we were going to do before we did it to her, she would still run, scream and cry in fear and it would take 2 people just to get her to hold still and give her the shot she needed. – that lasted about a week and was a complete nightmare.

    now i try to give it to her at night, which was working beautifully for about 3 days. i would have everything ready then get what little chub she had between my two fingers and administer the shot, each time she would say “ouch” in her sleep and jump a little but then she would just roll over and go back to sleeping again. (so, i know that it hurts my daughter to some degree anyway) but the past 4 days shes been waking up everytime whether its from the cold alcohol swabs or because i guess shes figured out that familiar chub pinch routine i had down (i don’t pinch hard at all!) so now…. its back to having two people having to give the shot to her……
    its horible.
    does anybody have any ideas as what i could try next?

  17. victoria says:

    sometimes it would be that i would have the needle in but didn’t have time to push the button to actually deliver the medicine to her body, then i would have to stick her again! 😦

  18. Sheena says:

    Victoria, I’m so sorry to hear hard of a time your little 3 year old is having with gh. How discouraging. We will be starting gh in about 2 months when our baby turns 2. Our endo recommended we start about 6 mos ago but we’ve procrastinated not wanting to give our baby shots and hoping that she’ll magically start growing.
    She has Turner’s Syndrome and isn’t even on the growth chart. She is really skinny so finding any “chub” to grab will be difficult. She’s also a super light sleeper so there is zero chance of being able to stick her while she’s sleeping. I hate the thought of having to chase her down if she runs away crying. how completely awful. I can NOT hold her down when she’s crying and saying Nooo… We’ll be starting right after my husband comes back from a deployment so I’m sure he won’t be very excited about having to play bad guy after being gone for so long.
    Our insurance company covers Norditropin. Have you guys had any good/bad experiences with different types of gh? (some hurt worse than others ect?) Are they pretty much all the same?

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