Medications for Disorders of Puberty

Endocrinologists at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone prescribe medications that regulate hormones in most children diagnosed with disorders of puberty. These medications help the glands of the endocrine system function properly, delaying or stimulating puberty, as needed.

Your child’s doctor determines which medication is appropriate based on gender and type of disorder of puberty.

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Therapy

Children with precocious puberty may be prescribed gonadotropin-releasing hormones, or GnRH therapy. This blocks the pituitary gland from releasing hormones that trigger puberty, reducing levels of reproductive hormones, including testosterone and a type of estrogen called estradiol.

These hormones are injected into the muscle of an arm or leg monthly or every three months until a child reaches the average age of puberty.


Boys with delayed puberty may be prescribed the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone can help trigger puberty by stimulating the growth of facial, pubic, and underarm hair, as well as growth of the penis and testicles. It can also cause the voice to deepen.

This medication is injected into a muscle on the arm or leg once a month. Sometimes, doctors prescribe a gel that’s applied daily to the skin. The amount of testosterone prescribed is slowly increased as a child’s body develops.

Other children and women, especially those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, should avoid contact with testosterone replacement therapy. For this reason, it’s important to clean up any excess medication.


Girls with delayed puberty may be prescribed the hormone estrogen. This therapy can stimulate signs of puberty, including the growth of breasts and uterus.

Estrogen is typically taken by mouth once a day. Sometimes, doctors prescribe a transdermal patch that is affixed to the skin, typically on an arm, abdomen or the buttocks. It is replaced twice a week.

The amount of estrogen prescribed is increased as the child’s body develops. Sometimes, doctors prescribe a combination of estrogen and progesterone, a hormone that helps regulate the menstrual cycle, to trigger menstruation.

Resources for Disorders of Puberty
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