Testosterone therapy might lead to weight loss in obese men with low testosterone (hypogonadism), researchers have reported.
Their study findings, presented in September 2020 at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO), suggested that testosterone therapy could be as effective as bariatric surgery for obese patients.
Testosterone therapy is typically prescribed to men whose bodies do not produce enough of the hormone on their own.
For the study, the research team looked at data collected from 773 German men with low testosterone. Of this group, 471 men were obese.
Among the obese men, 276 underwent testosterone therapy, receiving an injection of testosterone every three months. The testosterone group’s average age was 61 years. The remaining 195 of the men (average age 64) chose not to take testosterone.
After analyzing 11 years of data for these men, the researchers noticed some significant differences in weight loss.
Over that time period, the men taking testosterone lost about 20% of their body weight, on average. They also lost an average of 13 centimeters (5.12 inches) of their waist circumference and 7.6 average points of their body mass index (BMI).
The men who did not take testosterone ended up gaining weight – an average of 6% of their body weight – over that time. They added an average of 7 cm (2.76 inches) to their waist circumference and an average of 2 points to their BMI.
The researchers also noticed differences in mortality. About 8% of the men in the testosterone group died during the research period. For men who did not take testosterone, the rate was 32%.
There were significant differences in cardiovascular events between the groups as well. None of the men in the testosterone group had a heart attack or stroke during the study period. But over a quarter of the men in the no-testosterone group did have a heart attack or stroke.
“Long-term testosterone therapy in men with hypogonadism and the most severe level of obesity resulted in profound and sustained weight loss in a magnitude comparable to that achieved with metabolic (obesity) surgery. Side effects and complications may be in favor of testosterone therapy,” said lead researcher Dr. Farid Saad in an interview with ECOICO Newsletter 2020.
“We believe testosterone therapy should be discussed with patients as an alternative to surgery and should be considered for male patients who cannot undergo surgery,” Dr. Saad added.
ECOICO Newsletter 2020
“11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery”
(September 4, 2020)
Saad, Farid, et al.
“Long-term therapy with testosterone undecanoate injections (TU) results in
profound and sustained weight loss over 11 years in obese men with
hypogonadism: real-world data from a registry study”
[Abstract. Presented September 2, 2020 at European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020)]
Medscape Medical News
“Testosterone: An Option for Weight Loss in Obesity With Hypogonadism”
(September 8, 2020)