Drug treatment in precocious puberty

M D Wheeler, D M Styne
Drugs 1991, 41 (5): 717-28
Precocious puberty, as defined by the onset of pubertal development before the age of 8 years in girls or 9 years in boys, can be classified into central and peripheral aetiologies. Central precocious puberty (CPP) results from early activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and has similar physical and hormonal characteristics to normal puberty. Extrapituitary gonadotrophin secretion or independent sex steroid secretion results in peripheral precocious puberty (PPP). Precocious puberty is characterised by rapid growth and advancement of skeletal age. The skeletal advancement is greater than the growth increase, so that final adult height is compromised. Long-acting gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists are the current therapy of choice for central precocious puberty, having demonstrated effectiveness in halting the precocious development associated with this condition with minimal side effects. GnRH agonists are not effective as therapy for peripheral precocious puberty, but a number of other agents have been used with some success. These include androgen antagonists, testolactone, ketoconazole, and medroxyprogesterone acetate. The use of GnRH agonists has been associated with an increase in predictions of final height; however, continuing studies in treated cohorts are necessary to determine the true benefit of any of these agents on increasing ultimate height.

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