American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions
American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions
Perspective from Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD
June 28, 2018
2 min read

Long-term testosterone therapy may prompt type 2 diabetes remission in men

Perspective from Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Among men with hypogonadism included in a urology registry, long-term treatment with testosterone may lead to remission of type 2 diabetes, according to a speaker.

“This registry was not designed to study the effects of testosterone on type 2 diabetes,” Farid Saad, PhD, of Bayer Pharma in Berlin, said during the presentation. “A remission of type 2 diabetes with testosterone has not been described in the literature. It was completely unexpected.”

Saad and colleagues evaluated data from 400 men included in a urology registry of patients with hypogonadism (testosterone ≤ 12.1 nmol/L) since 2004; 133 (33.3%) of them had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and were treated in a diabetes center. All men received injections of testosterone undecanoate 1,000 mg for 12 weeks for hypogonadism. At least twice a year, anthropometric and metabolic measurements were obtained, and fasting insulin was acquired from the diabetes center to calculate homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance. Participants were followed for a mean of 6.9 years, with a maximum of 11 years. At baseline, mean age of the participants was 60 years.

The researchers found that at the final measurement, 16 men (12%) were in diabetes remission. They observed a reduction in HbA1c from 8.3% at baseline to 5.7%. Also decreased from baseline to last measurement were fasting glucose (from 7.8 mmol/L to 5.4 mmol/L) and fasting insulin (from 24.7 µU/mL to 7.6 µU/mL). HOMA-IR decreased from 8.7 to 1.8, and triglycerides dropped from 3.2 mmol/L to 2.2 mmol/L.

decrease in body weight from baseline was observed, from 107 kg to 89 kg, and a reduction in waist circumference from 108 cm to 97 cm. At baseline, all participants had been prescribed oral metformin, and five were on a regimen of insulin at an average dose of 21.6 units per day. Patients were observed for an average of 106.3 months. Discontinuation of diabetes medication occurred at an average of 74.8 months. One patient discontinued testosterone after a diagnosis of low-grade prostate cancer and, subsequently, developed new-onset type 2 diabetes. This patient again experience diabetes remission 48 months after resuming testosterone therapy. Because all injections were given in the urology office, medication adherence was 100%.

Saad weighed the potential cardiovascular benefits of diabetes remission, weight loss and decreased lipid levels against assertions that testosterone treatment itself confers CV risk.

“We do have a control group that is hypogonadal that did not receive testosterone treatment, and we see that of the threefold increase in mortality in the untreated hypogonadal patients compared to the treated patients, this mortality is usually of a cardiovascular nature, which is not the case in the treated patients,” he said. “So, in our experience, everything that was said about cardiovascular risk increased by testosterone treatment is nonsense.” – by Jennifer Byrne


Saad F, et al. 125-OR. Presented at: American Diabetes Association 78th Scientific Sessions; June 22-26, 2018; Orlando, Fla.

Disclosure: Saad reports he is an employee of Bayer AG and holds stock/shares in Bayer AG and Novo Nordisk.