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Acute decrease in testosterone level has few negative effects on healthy men

CHICAGO Short-term, artificially-induced reductions in testosterone levels in healthy young men had little effect on mood or depressive symptoms, according to an article in the October issue of The Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

According to the article, levels of androgens (hormones, including testosterone) decrease with age in men, sometimes leading to hypogonadism, a condition characterized by decreased testicular functioning. Hypogonadism may also have negative effects on bone metabolism, muscle mass, and mood and behavior. Some studies have shown that the administration of androgens causes mood changes in men, and other studies, administration of testosterone produced anti-depressant-like effects in hypogonadal men. However, no studies have examined the relationship between mood and acute suppression of testosterone.

Peter J. Schmidt, M.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md., and colleagues studied the effects of medication-induced hypogonadism in 31 healthy men (aged 23 to 46 years) by administering leuprolide acetate (a drug that lowers testosterone levels in the body) every four weeks for three months. Then, in addition to leuprolide, participants received testosterone enanthate (a testosterone replacement drug) or placebo every two weeks for one month. Participants then switched groups (those receiving testosterone enanthate received placebo and vice versa). Mood and behavior questionnaires were completed and blood samples were taken at clinic visits every two weeks throughout the study.

The researchers found that men taking leuprolide plus placebo had significantly lower blood levels of testosterone than men taking leuprolide plus testosterone, and blood levels of testosterone were higher during testosterone replacement than before beginning the study (at baseline). With the exception of hot flushes, libido and feeling emotionally charged, there were no sig
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JAMA and Archives Journals
4-Oct-2004


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