Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of a long-acting gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue (GnRHa), leuprolide acetate for depot suspension (Lupron Depot), in the treatment of central precocious puberty in children, and to determine the reversibility of GnRHa therapy after it has been discontinued.
Research design: Children with documented central precocious puberty were treated with Lupron Depot for 1.6 to 3.5 years. Their course of pubertal development, growth rate, skeletal maturation, and response to gonadorelin hydrochloride testing were compared before and during treatment. For those girls who finished treatment, an assessment of the reversibility of the GnRHa was performed by documenting a return to pubertal responses to gonadorelin testing, and by documenting menarche at an appropriately mature bone age.
Setting: Community teaching hospital.
Patients: Ten girls with central precocious puberty defined as pubertal maturation statistically advanced for age combined with a pubertal gonadotropin response to gonadorelin testing. Children who had been treated for less than 1.5 years were excluded, as were those with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Patients who finished treatment have been followed up for up to 5 years, and will continue in follow-up throughout their reproductive life. SELECTION SAMPLE: A consecutive group of children with documented central precocious puberty was studied.
Interventions: Lupron Depot was administered as a single monthly subcutaneous injection to each patient. Treatment was usually discontinued by 10 to 11 years of age, at which time pubertal progression was allowed to resume.
Measurement and results: Mean peak serum concentrations of follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormone responses to gonadorelin testing decreased significantly after the initial dose (from 21.8 +/- 4.5 [+/- SEM] to 2.4 +/- 0.2 IU/L for follicle-stimulating hormone and from 50.1 +/- 11.2 to 5.0 +/- 0.8 IU/L for luteinizing hormone) and remained suppressed for the duration of treatment. The progression of puberty slowed or reversed in all patients. Mean growth rate for chronologic age was significantly increased initially by 3.9 SDs and decreased to 0.9 SDs during treatment. The mean rates of skeletal maturation divided by the change in chronologic and height age changes over time were advanced (1.4 +/- 0.1 and 1.1 +/- 0.15, respectively) at the onset of therapy and decreased significantly to 0.7 +/- 0.1 and 0.8 +/- 0.1, respectively, on treatment. There was an increase in mean predicted height of 3.4 cm for all patients, and this was statistically significant. Thus, treatment with Lupron Depot at least maintained the predicted height at the onset of therapy. Girls who completed their course of treatment had pubertal gonadotropin responses to gonadorelin testing within 2 to 6 months, and menarche within the first year if skeletal maturation reached 13.0 to 13.5 years. No significant side effects of therapy were noted.
Conclusions: Treatment of central precocious puberty in children using Lupron Depot is safe and efficacious. Its effects are readily reversible after treatment is discontinued, and menarche occurs at a normal bone age. Measurement of serum luteinizing hormone concentrations using an assay that is specific for the beta-subunit is necessary to monitor chemical suppression of luteinizing hormone during treatment. Longer-term studies, including reproductive history, will be needed before the potential effects of treatment on fertility can be assessed.