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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 1, 2018

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

  • Carla Marisa Lopez EMAIL logo , Daniel Solomon , Susan D. Boulware and Emily R. Christison-Lagay



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


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.


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).


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.

Corresponding author: Carla Marisa Lopez, BA, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Section of Pediatric Surgery, New Haven, CT, USA, Phone: +773-216-6656

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  4. Honorarium: None declared.

  5. Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.


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Received: 2018-1-26
Accepted: 2018-3-26
Published Online: 2018-5-1
Published in Print: 2018-6-27

©2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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