Objectives: To assess the efficacy of the anti-estrogens tamoxifen and raloxifen in the medical management of persistent pubertal gynecomastia.
Study design: Retrospective chart review of 38 consecutive patients with persistent pubertal gynecomastia who presented to a pediatric endocrinology clinic. Patients received reassurance alone or a 3- to 9-month course of an estrogen receptor modifier (tamoxifen or raloxifene).
Results: Mean (SD) age of treated subjects was 14.6 (1.5) years with gynecomastia duration of 28.3 (16.4) months. Mean reduction in breast nodule diameter was 2.1 cm (95% CI 1.7, 2.7, P <.0001) after treatment with tamoxifen and 2.5 cm (95% CI 1.7, 3.3, P <.0001) with raloxifene. Some improvement was seen in 86% of patients receiving tamoxifen and in 91% receiving raloxifene, but a greater proportion had a significant decrease (>50%) with raloxifene (86%) than tamoxifen (41%). No side effects were seen in any patients.
Conclusion: Inhibition of estrogen receptor action in the breast appears to be safe and effective in reducing persistent pubertal gynecomastia, with a better response to raloxifene than to tamoxifen. Further study is required to determine that this is truly a treatment effect.