Puberty blockers no longer prescribed by England’s NHS due to insufficient evidence

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The National Health Service England confirmed that children will no longer be getting puberty blockers unless they are a part of a clinical trial. The officials said this was in the best interest of children and cited a lack of evidence supporting the safety of puberty blockers.

Potential side effects 


The decision came after 2020 research by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) raised safety and effectiveness concerns for puberty blockers. The puberty blockers will be available only to children as part of clinical research trials. 

Those on puberty blockers will be allowed to continue 

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England has around 100 minors on puberty blockers, and they are allowed to continue their treatments, the BBC confirmed. The rest will have to wait for clinical trials, with one already announced for this year. 

Government backs the NHS move


British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Victoria Atkins welcomed the NHS’ decision, adding that every decision regarding children and their safety must always be based on extensive clinical evidence. Former Prime Minister Liz Truss also welcomed the decision and urged the Government to back her amendment to broaden the ban to private clinics. 

LGBTQ+ organizations want more proof


Stonewall agreed with Atkins but added that over 8,000 youngsters have been waiting for years, urging further research. Mermaids, a trans and non-binary youth-supporting charity, found the decision disappointing. The charity added that NHS is failing trans youth. 

Polarized debate

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John Stewart, national director of specialized commissioning at NHS England, said that this was a polarized debate, adding that the speed and pace at which the new clinics will be able to see new patients will depend on how successful their ongoing recruitment into the service is.

Alarming study


In early 2024, University College London neuropsychologist Professor Sallie Baxendale published in Acta Paediatrica journal a potentially alarming study highlighting cases where girls apparently lost between 7 to 15 IQ points while taking puberty blockers.

Puberty blockers are being banned across the States


23 U.S. states have passed laws that ban gender-affirming surgical procedures, puberty-blocking medication, and hormone therapies or a combination of all three. In Idaho, doctors who prescribe minors puberty blockers face up to ten years in prison. 

Other states and punishments 

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In Florida, parents who permit gender-affirming medical care can lose custody of their kids. In Missouri, it is easier for patients who change their minds after consenting to gender-affirming care to sue doctors and to win up to $1.5 million in damages. 

Across the Europe


European nations have various views regarding gender-affirming care. Sweden blocked hormone therapy for those under 18, except in rare cases. Transgender Europe, or TGEU, reported that getting trans healthcare in the European Union is almost impossible in Ireland, Hungary, and Poland.

Malta and Spain as the leaders 


Malta is the best place to access trans-healthcare in Europe, while Spain is ranked second, according to TGEU. Still, not everyone in Spain has the same healthcare, so some regions have almost no access to gender-affirming healthcare.

The rise in gender dysphoria


A 2022 study found that transgender youth population has doubled in 5 years. Teens, 13 to 17-year-olds, make up 8% of the U.S. population but account for 18% of transgender people, the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute’s study found. That is the number based on data collected in the U.S. 

Mental health impact 

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The amount of legislation against gender affirmative care comes at a hefty price. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), transgender youth are almost six times more likely to think of ending their lives compared to their cis peers. 

Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.