Transgender treatment: Puberty blockers study under investigation

Jul 23, 2019 by

England’s only NHS youth gender clinic lowered the age at which it offers children puberty blockers, partly based on a study now being investigated.

The study’s full findings have not been published – but early data showed some taking the drugs reported an increase in thoughts of suicide and self-harm.

The clinic said data was from a “small sample” and so no “meaningful conclusion” could be drawn from it.

Children as young as 11 are now being offered these hormone-blocking drugs.

Experts on clinical trials have criticised the design of the study, which they say makes it hard to tell if the reported effects were due to the puberty blockers or something else. But experts said they warranted further investigation.

The Health Research Authority – which ensures medical studies are ethical and transparent – is now investigating claims brought to them by the BBC’s Newsnight programme about the early findings from the study – and the information that is understood to have been shared with patients and parents about the possible effects of puberty blocking drugs.

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