Objective: To assess the current prevalence of growth-suppressant therapy using oral estrogens for tall adolescent girls among U.S. pediatric endocrinologists.
Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to pediatric endocrinologists practicing in the United States, asking how many patients each clinician had recently treated for tall stature using oral estrogens, whether he/she continued to offer such treatment, reasons for offering or declining to offer it, criteria for initiating and terminating treatment, choice of estrogen, and typical doses, durations, and effects.
Results: Of 411 respondents, 92 (22%) reported having treated 1-5 girls for tall stature during the preceding five years. Only 4 (1%) had treated more than 5 cases during this period. Growth-suppression treatment was currently offered by 137 respondents (33.3%). Reasons for doing so included parents' and patients' concerns about stature and the adverse social effects of unusually tall stature. Reasons for not offering such treatments were that its long-term risks are unknown, that tall stature is not a disease, and a lack of referrals. Few clinicians initiated treatment if predicted mature height was below 183 cm. Treatment was typically terminated based on evidence of epiphyseal fusion, usually within less than two years, although extended treatments were common. Frequently reported adverse effects included weight gain, nausea/vomiting, areolar or nipple pigmentation, headache, and irregular menses.
Conclusions: Although treatment is less commonly initiated than in the past, many pediatric endocrinologists continue to offer oral estrogens to suppress growth for tall adolescent girls.