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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Prader-Willi syndrome


Other Names for this Disease
  • Prader-Labhart-Willi syndrome
  • PWS
  • Willi-Prader syndrome
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Treatment

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How might Prader-Willi syndrome be treated?

A multidisciplinary team approach is ideal for the treatment of people with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Early diagnosis, early multidisciplinary care, and growth hormone treatment have greatly improved the quality of life of many affected children. In general, management of this condition depends on the affected person's age and symptoms.[1]

When a diagnosis of PWS is made, several evaluations are needed to assess the extent of the condition. For example, newborns should be assessed for sucking problems; infants should be assessed for development; and young children should have a vision exam. All males should be evaluated for the presence of cryptorchidism. Other associated conditions for which evaluations may be recommended include hypothyroidism, scoliosis, behavioral problems, psychosis, and respiratory problems and sleep issues.[1]

In infants, special feeding techniques may be needed. Young children often need early intervention, including physical therapy for muscle strength and reaching physical milestones, and speech therapy for language issues. Cryptorchidism may resolve on its own but usually requires hormonal and/or surgical treatment. When excessive eating begins and weight centiles increase, affected children should be on a program of a well-balanced diet, exercise, and close supervision with food. A consultation with a dietitian is recommended. Behavioral problems may be addressed with special behavioral management programs. Serotonin uptake inhibitors have helped many affected teenagers and adults, particularly those with obsessive-compulsive symptoms.[1]

Growth hormone treatment can normalize height, increase lean body bass, and increase motility. Controlled trials of growth hormone therapies have shown significant benefit from infancy through adulthood. Benefits may include an increase in language and cognitive skills, and better motor performance. Sex hormone replacement helps to produce secondary sex characteristics (those that develop during puberty) but is somewhat controversial due to possible behavior problems in males, risk of stroke, and hygiene concerns related to menstruation in females.[1]

Clinical trials investigating potential treatment options for people with PWS are ongoing. ClinicalTrials.gov provides patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. People interested in participating in clinical trials are encouraged to visit this site to determine if any trials would be helpful. Use each study's contact information to learn more. You can view a list of clinical trials for PWS here.
 
To learn more about how to find and participate in a research study, clinical trial, or patient registry, view our Get Involved in Research page.
 
You may also visit the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research's Diagnosis & Treatment page for additional information and links to a variety of valuable resources. Additional information about the management of PWS can also be viewed on the GeneReviews Web site and on Medscape's Web site
Last updated: 1/9/2015

References
  1. Driscoll DJ, Miller JL, Schwartz S, and Cassidy SB. Prader-Willi Syndrome. GeneReviews. January 23, 2014; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1330/.


GARD Video Tutorial

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    Finding Treatment Information

Management Guidelines

  • GeneReviews provides current, expert-authored, peer-reviewed, full-text articles describing the application of genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients with specific inherited conditions. Click on the link to view the article on this topic.
  • Project OrphanAnesthesia is a project whose aim is to create peer-reviewed, readily accessible guidelines for patients with rare diseases and for the anesthesiologists caring for them. The project is a collaborative effort of the German Society of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Orphanet, the European Society of Pediatric Anesthesia, anesthetists and rare disease experts with the aim to contribute to patient safety.

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • ClinicalTrials.gov lists trials that are studying or have studied Prader-Willi syndrome. Click on the link to go to ClinicalTrials.gov to read descriptions of these studies.

Medical Products

The medication(s) listed in the table(s) below have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of this condition. The FDA Office of Orphan Products Development designates "orphan products" for those that treat rare diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 Americans. The table(s) below may not be an exhaustive list of drugs or products used to treat this condition. There may be other products available that are not considered orphan products. To search for all FDA approved drugs, visit Drugs@FDA. You can find orphan products used to treat other conditions by searching the Orphan Drug Product Designation database.


Generic Name Somatropin [rDNA]
Trade Name
(Manufacturer Name)
Genotropin®
(Pharmacia & Upjohn)
Indication
The FDA has approved this product to be used in this manner.
Long-term treatment of pediatric patients who have growth failure due to Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS).
More Information about this product Drug Information Portal

Generic Name Recombinant human luteinizing hormone
Trade Name
(Manufacturer Name)
Luveris® (injection)
(EMD Serono, Inc.)
Indication
The FDA has approved this product to be used in this manner.
Luveris (lutropin alfa for injection), concomitantly administered with Gonal-f (follitropin alfa for injection), is indicated for stimulation of follicular development in infertile hypogonadotropic hypogonadal women with profound LH deficiency (LH (less than) 1.2 IU/L).
More Information about this product Drug Information Portal

Other Names for this Disease
  • Prader-Labhart-Willi syndrome
  • PWS
  • Willi-Prader syndrome
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.