Capromorelin is an investigational medication developed by the Pfizer drug company. It functions as a growth hormone secretagogue and ghrelin mimetic which causes the body to secrete human growth hormone in a way usually seen at puberty and in young adulthood. Initial studies have shown the drug to directly raise insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels.
The drug is being considered for its therapeutic value in aging adults because elderly people have much lower levels of growth hormone -- and less lean muscle mass, which can result in weakness and frailty.
Patients who got the drug gained an average of 3 pounds (1.4 kg) in lean muscle mass after six months, and also were better able to walk a straight line -- a test of balance, strength and coordination. Some of the improvements were evident a year later.
Capromorelin, however, has not been approved by the FDA, and is not expected to be so any time soon. This is because the FDA does not consider aging a disease, and so requires extraordinary evidence of benefit and non-toxicity to approve a drug for use as an anti-aging agent.
- University of Washington/VA Puget Sound Health Care System: Dr. George Merriam
- University of Poland: Dr. Agnieszka Baranowska-Bik