CHICAGO, IL — Authors of a new study released last week confirm that cross-sex hormone treatment of transgender adults leads to very few long-term side effects.

 

More than 2000 patients from 15 US and European centers participated in the largest retrospective study of its kind called “Comorbidity and Side Effects of Cross-Sex Hormone Treatment in Transsexual Subjects.”

 

The authors reported that nearly 1600 patients received at least 1 year of follow-up.

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“The findings seem to this non-clinician/scientist to be consistent with many previous studies - no breakthrough here,” said Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality. “It maybe provides a little additional reassurance to primary care doctors and patients about the types of long-term side effects they should be looking for, but we have known for a long time that at appropriate doses, with appropriate monitoring, these medications are very safe and effective."

 

Henk Asscheman, MD, PhD, who leads HAJAP, his clinical research company in Amsterdam, the Netherlands spoke at ICE/ENDO 2014 last month, where he presented the initial results of the research.

 

"The take-home message," he said, "is that when using the guidelines from the Endocrine Society ["Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons"], you are not going to see a lot of comorbidities with cross-sex hormone treatment."

 

Among the 1596 adults who completed follow-up, 1073 were male to female (MTF) and 523 were female to male (FTM). According to medscape.com, the MTF group had a mean follow-up of 5.6 years and a mean age of 35.0 years, and on average, the FTM group had a follow-up of 4.5 years and age of 27.5 years.

 

More than 70% of the MTF group received cyproterone acetate (in Europe) or spironolactone, as an antiandrogen, in addition to estrogen treatment, Medscape reports. Among FTM subjects, more than 90% received intramuscular or topical (gel) testosterone administration.

 

“This study is reaffirming of what I (as a non medical individual) have seen with my many transgender friends and acquaintances have experienced,” said Steph James of St. Louis. “Personally I've not experienced any negative effects from MTF hormone therapy and in fact my previous fights with depression have largely disappeared. Most people I've met on Hormone Therapy are far happier than they've ever been.”

 

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