New Treatment Guidelines for Gender Dysphoria Released

Caroline Cassels

October 24, 2013

New guidelines for the assessment and treatment of gender dysphoria have been published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom.

Developed by an interdisciplinary working group consisting of representatives from psychiatry, endocrinology, gynecology, urology, general practice, nursing, psychology, psychotherapy, speech and language therapy, and patient groups, the guidelines take a multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach that aims to optimize care for this population.

"These guidelines have been 10 years in the making, and we are delighted to have endorsement from so many different organizations. The document provides guidelines which we hope will optimize the clinical care pathway for those individuals whose phenotype is inconsistent with their gender identity," Kevan Wylie, MD, chair of the guideline working group, said in a statement.

The guidelines make a series of recommendations to ensure gender dysphoria patients get the best possible care, including the following:

  • Gender treatment should have a multidisciplinary base and may include a number of medical and allied health professionals. Patients must be offered a choice of clinically appropriate treatments.

  • People with gender dysphoria should have access to high-quality services without undue and unnecessarily long waits.

  • People with gender dysphoria have a right to counseling and psychotherapy as part of their overall package of care.

  • Treatment must be patient-centered and should recognize the individual's preferences, needs, and circumstances. Treatment must not be prescriptive, and patients should be given a substantial role in determining which treatments are appropriate for them, and at what stage during the pathway of transition.

  • The transfer of care of patients from adolescent to adulthood services should be managed so that treatments that have been initiated for adolescents continue without interruption.

  • More research in the field should be encouraged, and funding should be set aside to offer specific grants for looking at patient outcome and satisfaction with interventions and transition.

"We herald a new approach to care which has evolved from a linear progressive sequence to multiple pathways of care which recognize the great diversity of clinical and presentation needs," the authors write.

The full guideline report can be viewed here: http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/usefulresources/publications/collegereports/collegereports.aspx.

Royal College of Psychiatrists. Published online October 24, 2013.

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