There is a concerning lack of safety data for childhood use of the drug Lupron, which is prescribed off-label to halt puberty in children with gender identity issues, according to a leading expert who investigated the drug.
Lupron was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat certain types of cancer, but doctors are still learning about serious side effects in adults, according to Harvard Medical School Professor Marc Garnick, who studied the drug for 40 years and was one of three academic principal clinical investigators of studies that led to the initial FDA approval of the drug. The side effects of their use in blocking puberty for children are still largely unknown, Garnick wrote in a letter to The New York Times.
“Woefully little safety data are available for the likely more vulnerable younger population. Bone loss in adult men who have been on these agents is significant, and a leading cause of morbidity with long-term administration,” Garnick wrote. (RELATED: ‘Groomed And Preyed Upon’: Young Woman Was Pressured Into Mastectomy, Testosterone As A Child — Now She Regrets It)
Advocates of cross-sex medical interventions for children who identify as transgender argue that puberty blockers can alleviate the stress of going through puberty in what feels like the wrong gender and can save transgender people from more intensive post-puberty interventions down the line.
Researchers are still investigating safety issues affiliated with the drug including its cognitive, metabolic and cardiovascular effects, Garnick wrote.
“The prudent and ethical use of such agents in the younger population should demand that every pubertal or pre-pubertal child be part of rigorous clinical research studies that evaluate both the short-term and longer-term effects of these agents to better define the true risks and benefits rather than relying on anecdotal information,” he said.
Garnick’s letter was in response to a Nov. 14 opinion piece in the NYT laying out the potential harms of prescribing Lupron and related drugs to children to halt puberty, including low bone density, osteoporosis and the issues that come along with regretting an adolescent medical transition.
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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