They quietly removed "Safe and Reversible" from the description. This makes New Zealand the latest country to admit that puberty blockers are in fact not "fully reversible" and could in fact be harmful for extended use, which is how they are prescribed for the treatment of gender dysphoria.
This comes as many other countries around the world are changing their stances on using the Dutch Model, which was the use of puberty blockers until age 16, then a wwitch to cross sex hormones, and surgeries at 18. In 2021, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK found little evidence of efficacy in treating young people struggling with their gender identity through the use of puberty blocking drugs.
This led to the subsequent closure of the Tavistock Gender Clinic over stark to concerns for children's welfare.
Sweden banned the use of puberty blockers and cross sex hormones for minors; with the exception of clinical trials. Finland changed its guidance to move away from affirmation-only care, and back to the watchful waiting approach. The first line of treatment is considered to be "psychosocial support and, as necessary, psychotherapy and treatment of possible comorbid psychiatric disorders."
Earlier this year in the United States the Food and Drug Administration added a warning that Puberty Blockers could cause pseudotumor cerebri, or increased fluid around the brain, brain swelling, and potentially vision loss.
Puberty blockers, under the name Lupron made by pharmaceutical giant AbbVie, are a drug that is administered for a number of medical treatments. Chemical castration in sex offenders, in-virtro fertilization treatments in women, and prostate cancer to name a few. In recent years, Lupron has most notably been used to "pause" puberty in gender dysphoric teens.
Even though all the data used to justify their use in this manner has come from studies on precocious puberty, Health organizations around the world had deemed them "fully reversible." The World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) admitted in their Standards of Care 8 that the data was unknown for use in children in key developmental years, and they are still prescribed as "off label" for gender dysphoria.
Even though New Zealand Ministry has stated that they still endorse the Professonal Association of Transgender Health Aotearoa (PATHA) guidance which considers them puberty blockers "fully reversible," opponents of the drug see this change as a win. Trans advocate Buck Angel told The Post Millennial that "New Zealand is exposing the truth about puberty blockers because a lie can only last so long, and people are seeing the damage this lie will do to children and their future. Thank you New Zealand."
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