Testosterone replacement therapy may help older, obese men with low levels of the hormone lose weight, according to a new study. But researchers are quick to warn that more studies are needed before the treatment is deemed safe and effective as a weight loss treatment.
Testosterone replacement therapy delivers the male hormone in the form of injections or creams and gels. It is prescribed for men who have low levels of testosterone in their blood. The treatment is used to counter symptoms of low testosterone, including low sex drive and mood swings.
The study followed a group of mostly older, overweight men with low testosterone levels who received injections to boost the amount of hormone in their blood. Men who were on the therapy for the longest amount of time lost more than 30 pounds on average during the course of the study. They also showed improvement in blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and had lower levels of bad cholesterol.
The study involved 214 men who remained in the study for at least two years. More than half were followed for another three years or more.
The study was not intended to determine whether testosterone therapy helped with weight loss in men, which made the study that much more curious.
But consumers should be warned that testosterone therapy is not to be used in men who do not have low levels of testosterone or serious health consequences can result.
Another concern is with testosterone gels, such as AndroGel and Testim. The product packaging warns users to wash their hands thoroughly after applying the gel and to cover the treated areas with clothing. Even clothing and sheets that have come in contact with the treated skin should be kept away from others.
Not taking these precautions has caused other people – specifically women and children – to become unintentionally exposed to the drug. For children, this can mean premature sexual development that can have lasting implications.