Effects of Testosterone Undecanoate on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Atherosclerosis in Middle-Aged Men with Late-Onset Hypogonadism and Metabolic Syndrome: Results from a 24-month, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study


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Antonio Aversa, MD, PhD, Dipartimento Fisiopatologia Medica, Sapienza Università di Roma, Viale Policlinico 155, Rome 00161, Italy. Tel: +390649970721; Fax: +39064461450; E-mail: antonio.aversa@uniroma1.it


Introduction.  Longitudinal studies have demonstrated that male hypogonadism could be considered a surrogate marker of incident cardiovascular disease.

Aim.  To evaluate the effects of parenteral testosterone undecanoate (TU) in outclinic patients with metabolic syndrome (MS) and late-onset hypogonadism (total testosterone (T) at or below 11 nmol/L or free T at or below 250 pmol/L).

Methods.  This is a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, parallel group, single-center study. Fifty patients (mean age 57 ± 8) were randomized (4:1) to receive TU 1,000 mg (every 12 weeks) or placebo (PLB) gel (3–6 g/daily) for 24 months.

Main Outcome Measures.  Homeostasis model assessment index of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), carotid intima media thickness (CIMT), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP).

Results.  At baseline, all patients fulfilled the National Cholesterol Education Program-Third Adult Treatment Panel (NCEP-ATPIII) and International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria for the definition of MS. An interim analysis conducted at 12 months showed that TU markedly improved HOMA-IR (P < 0.001), CIMT (P < 0.0001), and hsCRP (P < 0.001) compared with PLB; thus, all patients were shifted to TU treatment. After 24 months, 35% (P < 0.0001) and 58% (P < 0.001) of patients still presented MS as defined by NCEP-ATPIII and IDF criteria, respectively. Main determinants of changes were reduction in waist circumference (P < 0.0001), visceral fat mass (P < 0.0001), and improvement in HOMA-IR without changes in body mass index (BMI).

Conclusions.  TU reduced fasting glucose, waist circumference, and improved surrogate markers of atherosclerosis in hypogonadal men with MS. Resumption and maintenance of T levels in the normal range of young adults determines a remarkable reduction in cardiovascular risk factors clustered in MS without significant hematological and prostate adverse events. Aversa A, Bruzziches R, Francomano D, Rosano G, Isidori AM, Lenzi A, and Spera G. Effects of testosterone undecanoate on cardiovascular risk factors and atherosclerosis in middle-aged men with late onset hypogonadism and metabolic syndrome: Results from a 24-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Sex Med 2010;7:3495–3503.