February 25, 2015
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Hormone therapy in transgender adults appears safe

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A literature review recently published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology suggests that use of hormone therapy in transgender adults is relatively safe.

“Although many of the studies identified were small and will need to be replicated with larger numbers of patients involved, the overall trend of the findings is reassuring,” Joshua D. Safer, MD, FACP, of Boston University School of Medicine, said in a press release. “Notably, there was no evidence of a significant increase in cancer risk from transgender hormone treatment despite that being a common fear that is actually listed in most current guidelines.”

Joshua D. Safer, MD

Joshua D. Safer

Safer and Jamie D. Weinand, also of Boston University School of Medicine, conducted a systematic literature review of 1,881 articles on HT use among transgender adults to determine the relative safety of its use in these patients.

Researchers found that the review revealed HT is safe without a large risk of adverse events for transgender adults.

The primary concern among male-to-female transgender adults was the possible development of thrombogenic complications. Researchers suggest that clinicians address any risk for hypercholesterolemia and hypertension or smoking use that these individuals may have. The increase in thrombogenic complications was not found among female-to-male transgender adults.

Increases in insulin resistance, fasting glucose and changes in fat redistribution were found among all transgender adults.

No significant evidence was found suggesting an increased risk for cancer among these individuals.

“Although the review uncovers numerous areas in transgender hormone treatment that require more research, it should already help put to rest unnecessary anxiety about hormone safety for transgender individuals,” Safer said in the release. “Thus, an additional barrier to care for transgender individuals can be substantially reduced relative to what is still thought by many.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.