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Long-term testosterone treatment reduced weight, waist circumference in elderly men

HOUSTON — Men with a testosterone deficiency experienced continuous, substantial weight loss and reduction in waist circumference when treated with testosterone for an extended period of time, according to data presented here.

Previous studies have examined the link between obesity and decreased testosterone, and how low testosterone induces weight gain. Researchers conducted an open-label, single-center, cumulative, prospective registry study of 255 men to analyze the effects of normalized serum testosterone primarily in elderly, hypogonadal men.

Patients were aged 38 to 83 years, with an average age of 60.6 years, and testosterone levels between 1.7 ng/mL and 3.5 ng/mL (mean, 2.87 ng/mL).

Farid Saad, PhD, of Bayer Schering Pharmaceuticals in Berlin, said patients were categorized by their level of obesity: 13 men were normal weight, 61 were overweight, 145 were obese and 26 were morbidly obese.

“The majority of these men, almost all of these men with testosterone deficiency, were either overweight or obese,” Saad said during a presentation.

The cut-off point for testosterone treatment was serum testosterone of ≤3.5ng/mL. Of the 255 patients, 215 were studied for at least 2 years, 182 for 3 years, 148 for 4 years and 116 for at least 5 years, Saad said.

Patients received subcutaneous testosterone undecanoate 1000 mg for 12 weeks after an initial interval of 6 weeks.

Saad said the results from their study are encouraging.

“The big surprise when we analyzed these data was that these men lost weight continuously. After 5 years of treatment, they lost more than 16.15 kg of body weight,” Saad said.

During 5-year follow-up, weight decreased from 106.22 kg (with a minimum of 70 kg and maximum of 139 kg) to 90.07 kg (minimum, 74 kg; maximum, 115 kg).

Continuous weight loss throughout the full study period was found to be statistically significant (P<.0001).

Saad said there are explanations as to why there is a relationship between obesity and testosterone deficiency, and they can be traced back to adipose tissue, particularly the visceral or abdominal adipose tissue, he said.

“It produces a number of substances which, in turn, suppress testosterone production,” Saad said.

The mean percent weight loss was 4.12% after 1 year, 7.47% after 2 years, 9.01% after 3 years, 11.26% after 4 years and 13.21% after 5 years, according to data.

Waist circumference also decreased from between 86 cm and 129 cm to between 84 cm and 117 cm. At baseline, 96% of men had a waist circumference of more than 94 cm. At 5 years, that percentage of men decreased to 71%.

In addition to waist circumference and weight loss, data showed BMI significantly decreased from between 21.91 and 46.51 to between 22.7 and 36.71. – by Samantha Costa

For more information:

Saad F. Abstract SAT-118. Presented at: The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting & Expo; June 23-26, 2012; Houston.

Disclosure: Dr. Saad is an employee of Bayer Schering Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Ahmad Haider reports being the principal investigator for Bayer Schering Pharmaceuticals, and Dr. Louis Gooren is a speaker for Bayer Schering Pharmaceuticals.


Gary Wittert

  • I think the results are extremely interesting, and this is obviously something that needs to be done in a controlled study. I think we need to know what happens, and we should know the relative benefits of losing weight to get testosterone up, as opposed to using testosterone to lose weight.

    The probability of being able to maintain weight loss with a dietary intervention or a behavioral lifestyle change is, of course, extremely difficult to achieve. I think these findings have potential, but it needs further study.

    • Gary Wittert, MD
    • Professor of Medicine
      University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Disclosures: Dr. Wittert reports he is on the advisory board for Eli Lilly and Company, receives speaker’s fees from Eli Lilly and Company and Bayer Schering Pharmaceuticals, and has received research support from Bayer Schering Pharmaceuticals.

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