Background: Different pharmacologic agents are used in the treatment of paraphilic disorders in sexual offenders or men with a risk of sexual offending, with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists being the agents introduced more recently to treatment regimens.
Aim: To summarize the relevant literature concerning LHRH agonist treatment of paraphilic disorders in sexual offenders and update the previously published systematic review by Briken et al (J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64:890-897).
Methods: The PubMed and Google Scholar databases were searched for literature published from January 2003 through October 2017 using the following key words: LHRH agonists, GnRH agonists, antiandrogens AND paraphilia, pedophilia, sex offenders.
Outcomes: Evaluation of the effectiveness and side effects of LHRH agonist treatment of paraphilic disorders in sexual offenders.
Results: After screening for duplicates and applying specific selection criteria, the search yielded 24 eligible studies reporting on a sample of 256 patients. There is increasing evidence that LHRH agonists are more effective than steroidal antiandrogens in lowering paraphilic sexual thoughts and behaviors. Current research also is based on methods that might be less susceptible to faking (eg, eye-tracking, brain imaging, and viewing-time measures). Side effects occurring most frequently are fatigue, hot flashes, depressive mood, weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, gynecomastia, loss of erectile function, and loss of bone mineral density.
Clinical implications: Although LHRH agonists seem to be the most effective drugs in the treatment of paraphilic fantasies and behaviors, they should be reserved for patients with a paraphilic disorder and the highest risk of sexual offending because of their extensive side effects.
Strengths and limitations: This systematic review considers all types of research on LHRH agonist treatment in patients with paraphilic disorders, thereby providing a complete overview of the current state of research. However, most studies are case reports or observational studies and randomized controlled clinical trials have not been conducted or published.
Conclusions: LHRH agonists are a useful treatment when combined with psychotherapy in patients with a paraphilic disorder and the highest risk of sexual offending. However, throughout treatment, close monitoring of side effects is needed and ethical concerns must always be kept in mind. Turner D, Briken P. Treatment of Paraphilic Disorders in Sexual Offenders or Men With a Risk of Sexual Offending With Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone Agonists: An Updated Systematic Review. J Sex Med 2018;15:77-93.
Keywords: Antiandrogens; Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonists; Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone Agonists; Paraphilia; Paraphilic Disorder; Pedophilia; Pedophilic Disorder; Sexual Offender; Treatment.
Copyright © 2017 International Society for Sexual Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.