Long-term effects of oxandrolone treatment in childhood on neurocognition, quality of life and social-emotional functioning in young adults with Turner syndrome
Hormones and Behavior , Volume 69 p. 59- 67
Turner syndrome (TS) is the result of (partial) absence of one X-chromosome. Besides short stature, gonadal dysgenesis and other physical aspects, TS women have typical psychological features. Since psychological effects of androgen exposure in childhood probably are long-lasting, we explored long-term psychological functioning after oxandrolone (Ox) therapy during childhood in adults with TS in terms of neurocognition, quality of life and social-emotional functioning. During the initial study, girls were treated with growth hormone (GH) combined with placebo (Pl), Ox 0.03. mg/kg/day, or Ox 0.06. mg/kg/day from the age of eight, and estrogen from the age of twelve. Sixty-eight women participated in the current double-blinded follow-up study (mean age 24.0. years, mean time since stopping GH/Ox 8.7. years). We found no effects on neurocognition. Concerning quality of life women treated with Ox had higher anxiety levels (STAI 37.4 ± 8.4 vs 31.8 ± 5.0, p = 0.002) and higher scores on the depression subscale of the SCL-90-R (25.7 ± 10.7 vs 20.5 ± 4.7, p = 0.01). Regarding social-emotional functioning, emotion perception for fearful faces was lower in the Ox-treated patients, without effect on interpersonal behavior. Our exploratory study is the first to suggest that androgen treatment in adolescence possibly has long-term effects on adult quality of life and social-emotional functioning. However, differences are small and clinical implications of our results seem limited. Therefore we would not recommend against the use of Ox in light of psychological consequences.
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Freriks, K, Verhaak, C.M, Sas, T.C.J, Menke, L.A, Wit, J.M, Otten, B.J, … Timmers, H.J. (2015). Long-term effects of oxandrolone treatment in childhood on neurocognition, quality of life and social-emotional functioning in young adults with Turner syndrome. Hormones and Behavior, 69, 59–67. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.12.008