What are puberty blockers?
- The medical term for puberty blockers is Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonist (GnRHa).17
- GnRHa essentially pauses puberty by reverting secretion of sex hormones to pre-pubertal levels and regressing the patient’s pubertal development slightly. In simpler terms, it pauses development of secondary sex characteristics (i.e breasts, body hair, etc) until the person stops receiving treatment.17
Why use GnRHa?
- The Endocrine Society has approved GnRHa as an effective form of treatment for transgender youth as young as 12 years old.17
- Many young transgender people use GnRHa to prevent unwanted secondary sex characteristics.16
- This benefits the mental health of a person with gender dysphoria.2
- This also reduces the need for expensive surgeries later on.
- Clinics in several countries have begun providing GnRHa to transgender patients under 16 years of age if puberty has already begun.2
What else is GnRHa used for?
- GnRHa has been used safely for decades to suppress sex hormones in children who develop too early (precocious puberty).17
- It has also helped to treat patients with endometriosis, uterine fibroids, subfertility, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, prostate cancer, and more.12
What kinds of puberty blockers are there?
- Lupron is an injection which can be delivered daily, monthly, or every few months.12
- The patient and/or family members are often taught how to administer the shot at home.2
- The cost is usually anywhere between $500-$6,000 depending on frequency of injection and insurance plans.17/10
- Histrelin is a flexible rod inserted under the skin of the arm which lasts between 12-36 months.14
- The average age for placement is 14 years and can be done by a surgeon under local anesthesia.11
- The cost can be anywhere between $3,500-$20,000 depending on the brand and insurance plans.10
Medroxyprogesterone Acetate/Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate/Depo-Provera
- This is NOT GnRHa, but a less effective, low-cost alternative.2
- Medroxyprogesterone Acetate can be taken orally daily or as an injection every 3 months.10
- The doses of medication increase as the patient gets older and sex hormone levels rise.10
- It usually costs about $30 per month for the shot or the oral regimen.10
- NOT GnRHa, but an anti-androgen commonly used in transgender women and girls (assigned male at birth).2
- Oral dosages increase over time and are taken twice a day.10
- This can induce natural breast development and reduce masculinization.10
- The cost is usually anywhere between $10-$73 for 30 doses.10
If you’d like to see where we got this information, please view our references page.