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United Kingdom Orders ‘Emergency Ban’ On Puberty Blockers For Minors

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The Government of the United Kingdom announced Wednesday that it was placing an “emergency ban” on the private prescription and supply of puberty blockers for minors, according to a press release.

Both England and Scotland announced in March and April, respectively, that they were halting puberty blocker treatments for new patients under the age of 18 due to concerns about side effects and the largely unknown long-term impacts. The Government announced that from June 3 to September 3 private prescribers in England, Wales, and Scotland, as well as “prescribers registered in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland,” will not be able to offer puberty blockers as a treatment for minors with gender dysphoria, according to the new regulations.

“During this period no new patients under 18 will be prescribed these medicines for the purposes of puberty suppression in those experiencing gender dysphoria/incongruence under the care of these prescribers,” the announcement reads. “In addition, the government has also introduced indefinite restrictions to the prescribing of these medicines within [National Health Service] primary care in England, in line with NHS guidelines.”

The ban also bars providers from engaging in the “sale or supply” of puberty blockers for the purpose of treating minors with gender dysphoria, according to the regulations.

The ban applies to “gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues – medicines that consist of, or contain, buserelin, gonadorelin, goserelin, leuprorelin acetate, nafarelin, or triptorelin,” according to the announcement. The drugs will still be available for patients over the age of 18 or for NHS prescriptions.

Patients under the age of 18 who have been on puberty-blocking medication for at least six months prior to June 3 will be able to continue getting a prescription, according to the regulations.

The announcement stated that the decision was “taken to address risks to patient safety” and noted that the NHS in England had made similar moves following the release of the Cass Review. The four-year review conducted by Dr. Hillary Cass, a consultant in pediatric disability and formerly the president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, revealed that there was “weak evidence” to support puberty blockers for minors and that there was “insufficient/inconsistent” research on how the treatment impact fertility and mental health.

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