Introduction: Concerns about future regret and treatment discontinuation have led to restricted access to gender-affirming medical treatment for transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) minors in some jurisdictions. However, these concerns are merely speculative because few studies have examined gender-affirming hormone continuation rates among TGD individuals.
Methods: We performed a secondary analysis of 2009 to 2018 medical and pharmacy records from the US Military Healthcare System. We identified TGD patients who were children and spouses of active-duty, retired, or deceased military members using International Classification of Diseases-9/10 codes. We assessed initiation and continuation of gender-affirming hormones using pharmacy records. Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazard analyses estimated continuation rates.
Results: The study sample included 627 transmasculine and 325 transfeminine individuals with an average age of 19.2 ± 5.3 years. The 4-year gender-affirming hormone continuation rate was 70.2% (95% CI, 63.9-76.5). Transfeminine individuals had a higher continuation rate than transmasculine individuals 81.0% (72.0%-90.0%) vs 64.4% (56.0%-72.8%). People who started hormones as minors had higher continuation rate than people who started as adults 74.4% (66.0%-82.8%) vs 64.4% (56.0%-72.8%). Continuation was not associated with household income or family member type. In Cox regression, both transmasculine gender identity (hazard ratio, 2.40; 95% CI, 1.50-3.86) and starting hormones as an adult (hazard ratio, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.14-2.52) were independently associated with increased discontinuation rates.
Discussion: Our results suggest that >70% of TGD individuals who start gender-affirming hormones will continue use beyond 4 years, with higher continuation rates in transfeminine individuals. Patients who start hormones, with their parents' assistance, before age 18 years have higher continuation rates than adults.
Keywords: adolescent; adult; sex-hormones; transgender gender dysphoria; treatment.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Endocrine Society 2022.