Trends in the use of puberty blockers among transgender children in the United States

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Jun 27;31(6):665-670. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2018-0048.


Background: The objective of the study was to identify national trends in the utilization of histrelin acetate implants among transgender children in the United States.

Methods: We analyzed demographic, diagnostic and treatment data from 2004 to 2016 on the use of histrelin acetate reported to the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS) to determine the temporal trends in its use for transgender-related billing diagnoses, e.g. "gender identity disorder". Demographic and payer status data on this patient population were also collected.

Results: Between 2004 and 2016, the annual number of implants placed for a transgender-related diagnosis increased from 0 to 63. The average age for placement was 14 years. Compared to natal females, natal males were more likely to receive implants (57 vs. 46) and more likely to have implants placed at an older age (62% of natal males vs. 50% of natal females were ≥;13 years; p<0.04). The majority of children were White non-Hispanic (White: 60, minority: 21). When compared to the distribution of patients treated for precocious puberty (White: 1428, minority: 1421), White non-Hispanic patients were more likely to be treated with a histrelin acetate implant for a transgender-related diagnosis than minority patients (p<0.001). This disparity was present even among minority patients with commercial insurance (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Utilization of histrelin acetate implants among transgender children has increased dramatically. Compared to natal females, natal males are more likely to receive implants and also more likely to receive implants at an older age. Treated transgender patients are more likely to be White when compared to the larger cohort of patients being treated with histrelin acetate for central precocious puberty (CPP), thus identifying a potential racial disparity in access to medically appropriate transgender care.

Keywords: disparities; histrelin acetate; payer status; pediatric transgender; race; supprelin; transgender; transgender children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Implants / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Gender Dysphoria / epidemiology
  • Gender Dysphoria / prevention & control
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Hormone Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Puberty / drug effects
  • Puberty / physiology
  • Puberty / psychology
  • Puberty, Delayed / chemically induced*
  • Puberty, Delayed / epidemiology
  • Puberty, Precocious / drug therapy
  • Puberty, Precocious / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transgender Persons* / psychology
  • Transgender Persons* / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Drug Implants
  • Hormone Antagonists
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • histrelin