Denver, Colo., Nov 22, 2022 / 11:30 am
The use of puberty blockers on self-identified transgender children and teens has drawn scrutiny in a recent New York Times article, and other commentators echo its concerns that the treatments lack strong evidential grounding and may even be harmful.
“Many physicians and scientists have serious concerns about the use of puberty blockers for the treatment of gender dysphoric youth but are afraid to voice these concerns due to the politicization of this area of medical practice,” Dr. Paul W. Hruz, an associate professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, told CNA on Nov. 16.
“There is an urgent need for higher-quality scientific investigation of relative risks versus purported benefit of the use of puberty blockers to alleviate suffering in people who experience sex-discordant gender identity,” Hruz added. “It is likely that many children with gender dysphoria who are given puberty blockers are unaware of the potential harms and lack of solid evidence for the long-term safety and efficacy of this intervention.”
Hruz spoke in response to the Nov. 14 New York Times article headlined “They paused puberty, but is there a cost?” The article reported that the use of the drugs is usually framed as a safe, reversible option but questioned whether this is accurate. Puberty blockers are used before a final decision on whether to pursue more medical procedures that purportedly result in gender transition. Despite being in use for 30 years in various countries, there are “varying protocols, little documentation of outcomes, and no government approval of the drugs for that use, including by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” the Times said.