I’ve spent a lot of time (too much many would say) responding to YouTube comments from folks that support bans on puberty blockers, call them dangerous and even evil, and claim that there’s some wave or push for kids to start taking them. So, I went for a dive to find some information about what they are, how they are used, and what the side effects are, to make my responses more well-informed than just what I’ve gleaned from our Transistance coverage. I’ll eventually use this as a basis for a Puberty Blockers information page, but here’s what I found to start.
Puberty blockers are widely believed by the medical community to be safe and very helpful in the case of gender dysphoria, particularly in mitigating depression and suicidal ideation as patients grow into young adults. A quick google search on “Puberty Blockers” and reading the articles on the medical sites (like Mayo Clinic and Children’s Hospital St. Louis and many others) seems to provide decent evidence that they are safe when monitored regularly by doctors including bone density tests and supplements to ensure healthy bone development.
Lupron, a puberty blocker (that is commonly used in BC for gender dysphoria) was studied (and I assume has been used) as an alternative to surgical castration in male pedophiles because it blocks the release of testosterone. Hence the claims we hear that puberty blockers are used in chemical castration. However, it isn’t a one and done. It’s a shot administered every month and because of the decreased testosterone, patients reported significantly reduced pedophelic urges (as confirmed by polygraph tests). Info taken from the summary paragraph of this clinical trial: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00220350
I did find several spots saying there aren’t currently enough studies of long term affects, as well as the statement that drug companies are hesitant to submit data to the FDA due to the current political firestorm, which means there is more information out there that we don’t get to see because of this anti-trans wave.
I found this article of some females who took Lupron as a puberty blocker and had some nasty bone-related side effects. https://www.statnews.com/2017/02/02/lupron-puberty-children-health-problems/ But again, there isn’t evidence in this story that bone density was monitored and I suspect it’s cases like these that lead to the rigor around puberty blockers and bone density monitoring.
So, my conclusion:
- Is it the “wild west” when it comes to puberty blockers? No
- Do we know everything we need to know about long term affects? No
- Is there enough evidence to label these drugs as “dangerous” (or “evil”)? No
- Should these drugs be taken/administered with great care and regular monitoring and follow-up? Yes
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