Leuprolide Acetate Suppresses Pedophilic Urges and Arousability
- Cite this article as:
- Schober, J.M., Kuhn, P.J., Kovacs, P.G. et al. Arch Sex Behav (2005) 34: 691. doi:10.1007/s10508-005-7929-2
Cognitive–behavioral psychotherapy was compared with cognitive–behavioral psychotherapy augmented by leuprolide acetate (LA) for suppression of pedophilic behavior. Five male pedophiles (M age, 50 years; range, 36–58) were administered LA by Depo injection for 12 months, followed by saline placebo for 12 months. Testosterone levels, sexual interest preference by visual reaction time (Abel Assessment), penile tumescence (Monarch Penile Plethysmography, PPG), as well as strong sexual urges toward children and masturbatory frequency involving thoughts of children (polygraph), were measured every 3 months. On LA, testosterone decreased to castrate levels. Penile tumescence was significantly suppressed compared with baseline, but sufficient response remained to detect pedophilic interest. Pedophilic interest was also detected by visual reaction times. When asked about having pedophilic urges and masturbating to thoughts of children, all subjects self-reported a decrease. Polygraph responses indicated subjects were not deceptive. On placebo, testosterone and physiologic arousal eventually rose to baseline. As noted by polygraph, at baseline and on placebo, subjects were deceptive regarding increased pedophilic urges and masturbatory frequency. Interest preference, as measured by Abel Assessment and Monarch PPG, was generally unchanged throughout the study. Cognitive–behavioral psychotherapy augmented with LA significantly reduced pedophilic fantasies, urges, and masturbation; however, pedophilic interest did not change during 1 year of therapy. Deceptive responses by polygraph suggested that self-report was unreliable. Follow-up utilizing objective measures is essential for monitoring efficacy of treatment in pedophilia. Our study supports the premise that suppression of pedophilic behavior is possible. LA may augment cognitive–behavioral psychotherapy and help break the sequence leading to a re-offense.