Several hormone preparations have a long history of use as therapeutic agents. In virtually all instances they are administered simply to compensate for lower than normal endogenous production of the hormone in question. Since it first became medically available, insulin has saved or prolonged the lives of millions of diabetics. Gonadotrophins have allowed tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of sub-fertile individuals to conceive. GH has improved the quality of life of thousands of people of short stature. Most such hormones were in medical use prior to the advent of genetic engineering. Recombinant hormonal preparations, however, are now gaining greater favour, mainly on safety grounds. Hormone therapy will remain a central therapeutic tool for clinicians for many years to come.

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