Assessment of Puberty in Relation to L-carnitine and Hormonal Replacement Therapy in β-thalassemic Patients

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate puberty in a group of thalassemic patients with delayed or arrested pubertal development and to compare the effects of hormonal and L-carnitine therapy on puberty in those patients.

Patients

Thirty-two -thalassemic patients with arrested or failure of puberty were enrolled for 1 year in this study.

Method

Clinical pubertal assessment and laboratory investigations were done for all patients at the beginning, 6 months later clinical pubertal assessment was done. Patients were divided into two groups (16 each): first group received L-carnitine therapy, while the second group received hormonal therapy. Pubertal and laboratory assessment were done 6 months after hormonal and L-carnitine therapy.

Results

Failure of puberty was confirmed in 71.4% of boys and 33.3% of girls, while arrested puberty was observed in 28.6% of boys and 66.7% of girls. All girls had amenorrhea, primary amenorrhea in 88.9% and secondary amenorrhea in 11.1%. Menses occurred in 20% of female patients after L-carnitine therapy and in 37.5% of them after hormonal therapy. Improvement of pubertal staging was observed in 50% of males after L-carnitine therapy compared to 75% of them after hormonal therapy. While improvement of pubertal staging was seen in 90% of females after L-carnitine therapy compared to 100% of females after hormonal treatment. However, these results showed no significant difference between both groups.

Conclusion

Delayed puberty in β-thalassemia major is either due to failure of gonads or failure of the whole hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis. L-carnitine as well as hormonal replacement therapy had a positive effect on puberty in the thalassemic patients. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of L-carnitine on puberty in these patients.

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