Thursday, April 25, 2024

Puberty blocker research scope to broaden

The Ministry of Health is broadening the scope of its evidence brief on puberty blockers to include studies regarding mental health and wellbeing outcomes to help provide a fuller context to guide further work in this area.

The Ministry says the original scope of the work was focused on safety, reversibility, and long-term clinical outcomes of puberty blockers for gender-dysphoric adolescents. It will now also take a careful look at the impact of any changes to the mental health and wellbeing of those who may be considering puberty blockers.

“Feedback we’ve received so far has advocated for a greater focus on the mental health and wellbeing of anyone considering gender affirming care. Expanding the review to cover this important area is a useful step,” the Ministry said in a statement.

This work will also inform the clinical care pathways that Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand will develop to ensure clinicians who work in the field have access to the best information to support gender diverse adolescents, it said.

The scope expansion means the findings of the evidence brief will be ready for release later than originally planned – now expected by the end of this year.

“The Ministry is aware of the importance of clinicians having access to both the latest evidence and up to date clinical care guidance. The Ministry will work closely with Te Whatu Ora providing the necessary evidence and support for timely development of the clinical care guidance.”

“Puberty blockers continue to be available through prescribing clinicians for those who need them. Decisions on the use of puberty blockers are best made by patients and their families in consultation with appropriate clinicians,” the Ministry said.

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