Utah would study the use of a drug to help minors transition genders under proposed legislation

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Should the Utah state government study the use of a hormonal drug now used to help minors “transition” to the opposite sex?

Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, believes so, and he has introduced HB449 to do just that.

Daw says he’s not trying to stop minors, those under 18, from transitioning to the sex they were not born into.

“But is this drug dangerous?”

Some say it is, and Daw viewed a PBS special where parents and teens speak about bad side-effects of gonadotropin, under the common label of Lupron.

Daw, who was a big part of several recent legislative efforts on the medical front, said Lupron is being used “off label” to treat transitioning youth.

“Off label” means a drug is prescribed by physicians for uses not authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, a practice that is allowed under law.

Lupron blocks or otherwise hinders hormones of the teen’s birth sex, and can have long-lasting effects, said Daw.

Others say the drug is safe if prescribed by licensed doctors who know its use.

Daw says he has not spoken to the Utah Medical Association. But he asks why any medical professional would oppose a legitimate study to see if a treatment is safe and effective — and that is what his study will seek to accomplish.

His bill does not prohibit the drug’s use during the study. And it says the Health Department will issue a grant to study the drug and its use within its current budget, no new money is appropriated for the study.

Daw said he does not oppose the new state administrative rule outlawing the use of so-called “conversion therapy,” the discredited action whereby a minor moving to change his or her gender, or be sexually attracted with members of the same sex, is forced into “treatment” intended to stop that move.

“I do believe the administrative rule is too broad,” said Daw. But that is another issue.

He said it’s unethical and wrong to force anyone to stop the changing of their sexuality, whether minors or not.

“Why don’t we want good information” about the medical side-effects, if any, to an off-label drug given to any youth, regardless of what the drug is used for, Daw asks.