Growth in precocious puberty

Justin J Brown, Garry L Warne
Indian Journal of Pediatrics 2006, 73 (1): 81-8
Growth in precocious puberty is a subject of concern to families and clinicians alike. The definition of precocious puberty and the role of obesity in the age of onset have also been areas of debate since the Lawson Wilkins Society recommended a lowering of the age of onset of precocious puberty in US girls. An understanding of growth patterns in normal children with earlier or later onset of puberty and the variable rate of progression between individuals with central precocious puberty as well as the imprecision in available height prediction methods are important in assessing height outcomes in this condition. In the absence of randomised controlled trials in this area, only qualified conclusions about the effectiveness of interventions can be drawn. In general, it appears that height outcome is not compromised in untreated slowly progressive variants of central precocious puberty. In rapidly progressing central precocious puberty in girls, gonadotrophin releasing hormone agonists (GnRH agonists) appear to increase final height by about 5 cm in girls treated before the age of eight, but there is no height benefit in those treated after eight years. Scanly data is available to assess treatment effects in boys. GnRH agonists appear to be relatively safe. The decision to treat central precocious puberty should take into account rate of progression of pubertal changes as well as biochemical markers and may need to address other factors (for example psychosocial and behavioural issues) as well as height outcome.

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