Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy and the Need for Long-Term Studies

Researchers found that short-term hormone therapy is safe with provider supervision, but there are few studies that examine longer term effects.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is common among transgender individuals, and it frequently requires that transgender men take testosterone and transgender women take estrogen and an anti-androgen. Researchers Jaime Weinand and Dr. Joshua Safer review the relative safety of these hormone treatments and find that they show no large risk of adverse events “when followed carefully for a few well-documented medical concerns.” These medical concerns include thrombogenic complications and increased triglycerides in transgender women and polycythemia in transgender men.

The researchers note that most of the existing knowledge on effects of HRT comes from case reports and that there is a need for larger, more long-term studies. Dr. Safer told NewNowNext that these studies have not been done yet because “the entire field has not been part of conventional medicine and conventional scientific investigation for very long.” Nonetheless, he is optimistic about the future of the field and believes that research will find very few negative consequences to hormone therapy. He concludes, “If there is a small harm, it will simply be a part of our pattern where we will say, ’Okay, this is your risk, is it worth it to you?’ And most of the patients will say, 'Sure.'” 

You can read the full text of the study in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology here: http://www.jctejournal.com/article/S2214-62371500049-6/fulltext

You can read NewNowNext’s report here: http://www.newnownext.com/the-unstudied-effects-of-hormone-replacement-therapy-what-do-transgender-patients-need-to-know/02/2018/