Transdermal estradiol substitution therapy for the induction of puberty in female hypogonadism

Mariangela Cisternino, K. Nahoul, M. Bozzola, G. Grignani, G. Perani, P. Sampaolo, M. Roger, F. Severi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fifteen patients aged 14.5–27.3 years (mean ± SE 18.8 ± 0.9) with pubertal development failure underwent replacement therapy with estradiol (E2) using a transdermal therapeutic system (TTS). Fourteen of them were affected by hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (11 with thalassemia major, 3 with multiple pituitary hormone deficiency), the 15th patient had an asymmetric gonadal dysgenesis (karyotype 45, X 0/46, XY). Two sizes (5 and 10 cm2) of E2 TTS, delivering respectively 25 and 50 µg of E2 a day for 3 1/2 days, were used in this study. All patients were initially given the lower dose of 25 µg, twice weekly for 3 weeks each month; 6 months after starting therapy, 5–10 mg oral medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) daily was added during the third week. Later, the following sequence was used: 25 µg E2 TTS (wice weekly), on days 1 through 14, and 50 µg E2 TTS (twice weekly), on days 15 through 25 of each month. On days 15 through 25, 5 mg daily of MPA were administered orally. The period of treatment ranged from 0.5 to 3 years. Breast development was obtained in all cases. The vaginal maturation index rose. Ultrasonography showed an increase of uterine size and uterine shape became of pubertal type. Withdrawal bleeding occurred in all patients. Plasma E2 levels rose to normal levels, estrone (E1) levels increased slightly. No change in plasma SHBG levels was observed. Urinary E2, E1 and estriol rose to maximum levels the 3rd day after the application of each system. Neither systemic side effects nor adverse metabolic effects were observed except for an increased sensitivity to the platelet aggregating agents. Patches were well tolerated and none of them was lost. In conclusion transdermal E2 therapy has been effective in inducing puberty in hypogonadal adolescents, providing physiological plasma estrogen concentrations. Moreover the harmful effects which are caused by oral E2 administration were not observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-488
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • female hypogonadism
  • replacement therapy
  • Transdermal estradiol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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