Non-compliance in children receiving growth hormone (GH) treatment is often caused by pain on injection and difficulties in administration of GH. It has been suggested that automatic needle insertion diminishes pain perception. We quantitatively measured pain intensity on injection with two prototype pens for GH administration, providing either manual or automatic sc needle insertion, using a combined visual analogue/facial scale and a five-item scale in 18 children. With the automatic pen there was a significantly lower maximum pain score compared with the manual pen (median 28.5 versus 52.0 mm) as well as a lower mean pain score (mean 13.7 versus 23.5 mm). The five-item scale revealed that automatic needle insertion was significantly less painful than manual insertion and 13 patients chose to continue treatment with the automatic pen. In conclusion, pain during GH injection can be significantly diminished by automatic needle insertion, which may improve compliance in long-term GH treatment.