What is the role of a levodopa-propranolol HCI test in the workup of hyposomatotropism (growth hormone deficiency [GHD])?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Sunil Kumar Sinha, MD; Chief Editor: Robert P Hoffman, MD  more...
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Levodopa is a dopamine receptor agonist. Dopamine is involved in the stimulation of GH secretion. In the converse, beta-adrenergic control negatively regulates GH release. [62]

Propranolol is a beta-blocker used to hinder inhibitory input affecting GH release, while levodopa simultaneously stimulates GH release by means of the dopaminergic pathway. Propranolol 0.75-1 mg/kg is orally administered before levodopa. The dosage of levodopa for levodopa-propranolol HCl testing varies with weight, so that children weighing less than 15 kg receive 125 mg, children weighing 10-30 kg receive 250 mg, and children weighing more than 30 kg receive 500 mg.

Blood samples for GH testing are drawn at 0, 60, and 90 minutes after the administration of levodopa. Adverse effects include nausea and, in rare cases, emesis. In addition, the patient's heart rate may decrease because of the use of propranolol. Closely monitor his or her vital signs, and ensure that appropriate resuscitative measures are available.

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