29 April 2002
The management of children and adolescents with hypogonadism and in particular the induction of puberty in the hypogonadal girl is subject to controversy. Therefore, under the auspices and through organization of the Drugs and Therapeutics Committee of the European Society of Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE), an interactive voting session and workshop was held at the 39th ESPE Annual Meeting in Brussels to discuss these topics. Common practice in Europe and attitudes of pediatric endocrinologists in Europe were questioned and recorded in the 1.5-hour program. We now report on some of the results of the questionnaires and discussions of that session to further the discussion on and knowledge of current concepts of induction of puberty in the hypogonadal girl in Europe. It became clear from the data accumulated here that the start of treatment, the aims of therapy and the modalities of how to treat the hypogonadal girl vary amongst pediatric endocrinologists in Europe. For example, a chronological age ≧11 years was considered appropriate for the start of estrogen therapy by 40.4% (out of 188 answers), while 47.8 and 7.5% felt that a chronological age ≧13 and ≧15 years respectively was appropriate. In respect to the form and route of estrogen administration, the audience was asked for their common estrogen replacement practice: 31.9% used oral 17β-estradiol treatment, while 10% would prescribe 17β-estradiol transdermal patches. Another 12.2% would recommend conjugated estrogens (e.g. Premarin<sup>®</sup>) orally, 4.8% use oral estradiol valerate and 39.3% ethinylestradiol orally. Only 1.8% out of 229 physicians answering were undecided. In addition, counseling of patients and their families is quite variable and perceptions for example regarding potential pregnancies in affected women are also not uniform. In this report the authors do not want to provide their own personal views but rather reflect current practice in Europe. It is hoped that a more uniform picture will emerge once European and international guidelines on how to treat the girl with hypogonadism will be available and even more discussions amongst doctors from different countries have been led.