U.K. government introduces emergency ban on puberty blockers for minors

Under the new regulations, no new patients under 18 will be prescribed these medicines for the purposes of puberty suppression in those experiencing gender dysphoria or gender incongruence.

U.K. government introduces emergency ban on puberty blockers for minors
AP Photo/Trisha Ahmed
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The British government has announced the introduction of new regulations to restrict the prescribing and supply of puberty-suppressing hormones, commonly known as puberty blockers, to children and young people under the age of 18 in England, Wales, and Scotland.

The emergency ban, effective from June 3 to September 3, aims to address concerns surrounding patient safety and aligns with recent changes in NHS guidelines, the government stated.

Under the new regulations, no new patients under 18 will be prescribed these medicines for the purposes of puberty suppression in those experiencing gender dysphoria or gender incongruence.

The ban applies to prescriptions written by U.K. private prescribers and those registered in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. This move follows the NHS's decision to stop the routine prescription of puberty blocker treatments to under-18s, which was based on the recommendations of the Cass Review into gender identity services.

In addition to the temporary ban, the government has also implemented indefinite restrictions on the prescribing of these medicines within NHS primary care in England. The new arrangements specifically target gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues, which include medicines containing buserelin, gonadorelin, goserelin, leuprorelin acetate, nafarelin, or triptorelin.

Posting on X, Elon Musk wrote: "Thank goodness" in response to social commentator James Esses' announcement of the news.

The decision to introduce these restrictions comes amid growing concerns about the potential risks associated with the use of puberty blockers in young people. The government's action seeks to prioritize patient safety while allowing for further research and evaluation of the long-term effects of these treatments.

Patients who are already established on these medicines by a U.K. prescriber for the purposes of puberty suppression will be able to continue accessing them. The drugs will also remain available for patients receiving them for other uses, provided they are prescribed by a U.K.-registered prescriber.

The government's move has drawn both support and criticism from various stakeholders. Advocates for the restrictions argue that they are necessary to protect vulnerable young people from potentially irreversible effects and to ensure that thorough assessments and counseling are provided before any medical interventions are considered.

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