According to a recent analysis, for men with obesity and low testosterone levels, testosterone therapy could be as effective as weight reduction surgery.
A data of not more than 11 years shows that testosterone injections could be a treatment for obesity in men. The results show that long-term testosterone therapy may be comparable to weight loss surgery, with a lower risk of complications.
Over 16 per cent of adults in the world have obesity, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Obesity has links to several chronic health conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Recent findings also shows that obesity may also worsen outcomes in COVID-19 have encouraged some governments to create entirely new public health strategies to encourage people to lose weight.
However, obesity is a complex issue with both medical and social causes, and achieving lasting weight loss can be challenging for many people. This means researchers are looking for new strategies to help treat obesity beyond merely cutting calories.
Data recently presented at the virtual European and International Congress on Obesity support the use of testosterone therapy to treat men with obesity.
Long-term testosterone treatment reduced body weight by 20 per cent on average.
The pharmaceutical company Bayer and Gulf Medical University in the United Arab Emirates led the research, using 11 years’ worth of data.
The researchers collected data since 2004 of 471 men with functional hypogonadism, or low testosterone production, and obesity from a German urological practice.
Around 58 per cent of the men received an injection of testosterone every 3 months for the duration of the study, while the remainder chose not to have the treatment and therefore acted as controls. The average age of the participants was 61.57.
Medical staff administered and documented all injections at a doctor’s office, which assures that all participants received the treatment in a consistent manner. No participants dropped out of the study.
The men who received testosterone lost on average 23 kilograms (kg) (equivalent to 20 per cent body weight) during the study period, while those who did not receive treatment gained an average of 6 kg.
Body mass index (BMI) correspondingly decreased by an average of 7.6 points in those who received testosterone therapy, compared with an increase of 2 points in the control group.
Waist circumference, which is a risk factor for cardiometabolic disease, decreased by an average of 13 centimeters (cm) in the treatment group, compared with a 7 cm increase in the control group.
The testosterone-treated men also had less internal (visceral) fat by the end of the study period. They may have had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who did not receive treatment.
Overall, 28 per cent of men in the control group had a heart attack, and 27.2 per cent had a stroke during the study period. There were no major cardiovascular events in the men who received testosterone therapy.
Likewise, while more than 20 per cent of the control group developed type 2 diabetes during the study period, nobody in the treatment group developed the condition.
Commenting on the results, Farid Saad of Bayer said: “Long-term testosterone therapy in hypogonadal men resulted in profound and sustained weight loss, which may have contributed to reductions in mortality and cardiovascular events.”