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.

Androgen, Intelligence, Neurocognition, Psychosexual wellbeing, Quality of life, Social-emotional functioning, Turner syndrome
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2014.12.008, hdl.handle.net/1765/89224
Hormones and Behavior
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

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