Research, clinical practice come together at transgender care symposium



– A well-attended afternoon symposium on transgender medicine gave participants at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society a solid grounding in transgender care, from prepubescence through adulthood. Here, Joshua Safer, MD, and Michael Irwig, MD, discuss highlights of the symposium, which brought together research, best practices, and clinical practice pearls.

In his presentation, Dr. Safer focused on evidence-based strategies in medical education that can increase knowledge and comfort for trainees who are caring for transgender individuals. The basics, he said, begin with presenting well-established, scientific principles supporting current standards of transgender care.

Dr. Safer, executive director of the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery, New York, pointed out the critical role of gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists in delaying puberty for transgender girls. Blockade of puberty – and elevated testosterone – can forestall otherwise irreversible male secondary sex characteristics. These include laryngeal enlargement and bony changes of facial structure, for example.

Dr. Irwig, director of andrology at George Washington University, Washington, laid out the basics of transgender hormone therapy, including clinical pearls, such as avoiding ethinyl estradiol because of the heightened risk of venous thromboembolism.

Dr. Safer is a member of the editorial advisory board of Clinical Endocrinology News. He reported that he has received consulting fees from Endo Pharmaceuticals and that his spouse is an employee of Parexel. Dr. Irwig reported no relevant conflicts of interest or financial disclosures.

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