If your child has been diagnosed with central precocious puberty, you may wonder if CPP treatment is the best course of action, and if so, what kind. We’ve outlined some important factors to consider when making your decision, including the goals of treatment, treatment types, duration of treatment, dosing options, and insurance coverage—all so you can make an informed choice for your little one.
While the primary goal of CPP treatment is to enable your child to reach their full adult height potential, treatment also arrests other physical and psychosocial signs of puberty, like body hair and odor, menstruation, and mood swings. Often, CPP treatment can press pause on premature puberty so your child can stay little a little longer. But depending on your child’s age and how quickly puberty is progressing, their physician may not recommend treatment at all. Talk to your child’s doctor about whether or not medication is recommended.
Standard CPP Treatment
In rare cases, an underlying medical condition like a genetic disorder or a tumor can cause central precocious puberty, necessitating treatment specific to that condition. Usually, though, CPP is idiopathic, meaning it has no identifiable cause. If your child has idiopathic CPP, their doctor may prescribe GnRH analogue therapy.
Short for gonadotropin-releasing hormone, GnRH causes the pituitary gland in the brain to create and secrete puberty hormones. GnRH analogue therapy works by suppressing these puberty hormones, in turn suppressing premature puberty. This medication has resulted in significant improvement in adult height for the vast majority of children with CPP, with the best outcomes seen in those who begin treatment before six years of age.
Treatment Options and Duration
CPP treatment has advanced over the years to give patients a range of options for how (and how often) to receive treatment. GnRH analogue therapy can be administered either via subcutaneous injections, intramuscular injections, or subcutaneous implants, which all have their own advantages.
– Subcutaneous GnRH analogue injections are delivered via a shot into the fatty tissue that lies between the skin and the muscle—anywhere on the body that can be easily bunched. While subcutaneous shots may hurt a bit at the injection site, pain usually does not last long. Subcutaneous GnRH analogue injections are delivered every six months.
– Intramuscular GnRH analogue injections are administered into the muscle below the skin and fatty tissue, and there are fewer injection site options. While intramuscular shots typically don’t cause a great deal of pain at the outset, they often result in pain and soreness in the coming days. Intramuscular injections are given monthly, every three months, or every six months.
– Hormonal implants can be placed under your child’s skin through an incision in the upper arm. Implants last up to a year, however, they do require a minor surgical procedure. Furthermore, they need to be surgically removed and, if necessary, surgically replaced.
The duration of every type of GnRH analogue therapy depends on when your child first starts treatment. Children receive medication until they reach a normal age for puberty. Then, on average, natural puberty will begin again 16 months after they stop receiving treatment.
Treatment Insurance Coverage
When navigating your child’s CPP treatment options, it’s important that you feel comfortable and confident utilizing your insurance benefits. Learn about doctor’s visit, medication coverage, appeals, payment assistance, and more in our CPP Insurance 101 article.
At the end of the day, the details of your child’s CPP treatment are up to you and their doctor. The more you know, the simpler it will be to make the right decision for your family.