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Human Chorionic Gonatrophin Side Effects

04/06/2004

Question:

I recently found out that my sister-in-law was going to a weight loss clinic. She has diabetes and has gained a lot of weight since she started using insulin. So far she has only lost 3 pounds in 3 weeks. She said that they give her shots of human chorionic gonadotrophin for the weight loss and she said she can`t have any sweets or dairy products. She has to drink 4 quarts of water every day, too. I have thought of trying this but would like to know if there are any side effects from long time use.

Answer:

There has been some research on human chorionic gonadotropin use in obesity. I`ve listed below the reference for an article published in 1995 which is a meta-analysis, meaning compiling all the articles and making a conclusion. I`ve also included a summary of the article and its conclusions. The bottom line: based on published research, it doesn`t work. I`m not surprised that your sister-in-law has lost some weight, basically by restricting all sweets and dairy products, she is simply limiting calories.

From: Br J Clin Pharmacol. The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis. Lijesen GK, Theeuwen I, Assendelft WJ, Van Der Wal G. Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands1995 Sep;40(3):237-43.

SUMMARY: 1. A meta-analysis was conducted to assess if there is scientific ground for the use of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. 2. Published papers relating to eight controlled and 16 uncontrolled trials that measured the effect of HCG in the treatment of obesity were traced by computer-aided search and citation tracking. 3. The trials were scored for the quality of the methods (based on four main categories: study population, interventions, measurement of effect, and data presentation and analysis) and the main conclusion of author(s) with regard to weight-loss, fat-redistribution, hunger, and feeling of well-being. 4. Methodological scores ranged from 16 to 73 points (maximum score 100), suggesting that most studies were of poor methodological quality. Of the 12 studies scoring 50 or more points, one reported that HCG was a useful adjunct. The studies scoring 50 or more points were all controlled. 5. We conclude that there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity; it does not bring about weight loss.

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Response by:

Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd Tanya I Edwards, MD, MEd
Formerly, Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University