Unexpected benefit of testosterone replacement therapy for hypogonadism discovered

Testosterone replacement therapy for hypogonadism helps normalize hemoglobin levels in the blood. Correction of anemia was more effective when using a hormonal agent compared to placebo.

Scientists from Harvard Graduate Medical School, the University of Wisconsin and two specialized centers in the United States assessed the effectiveness of testosterone replacement therapy in correcting anemia in men with hypogonadism and concomitant anemia, as well as in reducing the risk of developing anemia in people with normal hematological parameters. The study results were published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Five-year data from 5204 men aged 45–80 years from 316 US centers were analyzed. All participants had symptoms of hypogonadism and decreased testosterone levels <300 ng/dL. Of these, 16% were anemic (hemoglobin level below 12.7 g/dL). The men were assigned to two treatment groups: 1.62% testosterone gel or placebo gel for 48 months. The frequency of regression of anemia and the frequency of development of anemia in men with normal blood counts were assessed.

After six months of treatment, correction of anemia occurred in a higher proportion of patients in the testosterone group compared with placebo: 41% versus 27.5%. A similar pattern continued throughout the four-year study.

Among participants with normal hematologic parameters at baseline, anemia occurred less frequently in the testosterone group.

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