Efficacy, safety & side effects cross-sex hormone therapy

Expert Johanna Olson, MD recognizes that cross-sex hormone therapy might sounds daunting, but it is actually pretty safe. She explains key side-effects and what patients and their families can do to stay in the best possible health.
Efficacy, safety & side effects cross-sex hormone therapy | Kids in the House
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Efficacy, safety & side effects cross-sex hormone therapy

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One of the most frustrating things for me, as a provider, is that there is not great data resource that helps inform us about the effects of medications, these cross-sex hormones, when they’re started in early adolescence. I’m working on that research protocol now to understand that better. What we do know is that the safety of these medications is very good. We’ve looked at adult transgender populations. These are medications that are used in other medical clinical scenarios, and they’ve been shown to be very tolerable, very safe, and of course, the side effects are usually the desirable ones that the individual taking them wants. So, they want to develop those secondary sexual characteristics of men or women. There are potential other side effects, like any medication has. These medications are processed through the liver, so we’re very careful about making sure that young people have initial baseline lab values drawn, to make sure their kidneys are functioning, that their livers are functioning, that their blood pressure, and blood cells are all in order, before we would embark on a hormone regimen for them. They also get those levels measured every three months for the first year that they are in therapy with us, and then if everything is going well, and they’re tolerating their doses, they can go down to every six month treatment.

Expert Johanna Olson, MD recognizes that cross-sex hormone therapy might sounds daunting, but it is actually pretty safe. She explains key side-effects and what patients and their families can do to stay in the best possible health.

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Johanna Olson, MD

Medical Director, Center for Transyouth Health and Development, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Johanna Olson, MD is a pediatrician in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Medical Director of the hospital’s Center for Transyouth Health and Development.  She specializes in the care of transgender youth, gender variant children, youth with HIV, and chronic pain. Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Olson is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She has appeared on ABC's 20/20, The Dr. Phil Show, CNN, Dateline NBC and The Doctors to educate audiences about the needs of transgender youth.

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